Two of three Winter Park car thieves sentenced

Roberson Eric Lance (left) and Eric Copeland are two of three men who Fraser Winter Park Police arrested for forging a bill of sale to steal a car in January.
Grand County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy photo

Roberson Eric Lance, 28, and Eric Cecil Copeland, 48, both of Winter Park, received sentencing April 6 for forging a bill of sale to steal a car in January. Fraser Winter Park Police arrested the pair, along with Richard Castillo, 38, on Jan. 11.

Copeland’s signature was on a forged bill of sale that the group used to get a towing company to move a white Chevrolet Suburban to a secluded lot in unincorporated Fraser, according to arrest affidavits.

The owner of the towing service had doubts about the bill of sale’s validity and contacted the police. The owner, who was in jail at the time, reported their car stolen after police heard from the tow company owner. Officers compared the vehicle owner’s signature to the one on the bill of sale and concluded the bill of sale signature had been forged.

Arrest affidavits stated that the vehicle owner lived out of their car, which they told the police as evidence that they would not have sold the vehicle. Most of their belongings were stored inside, including thousands of dollars in cash, clothing and merchandise.

The tow company owner told police Castillo admitted to taking money and clothing out of the vehicle, according to the affidavits.

Lance pleaded guilty to a Class 4 felony drug charge for possession of a controlled substance. His plea dismissed a Class 5 felony for forgery, Class 6 felonies for theft and motor vehicle theft, misdemeanors for drug possession and criminal possession of an identification document, and a petty offense for drug paraphernalia possession.

The fines and costs associated with Lance’s sentence total $8,633.50, with $6,700 of the total coming from restitution, which is joint and several. The sentence also includes a one-year parole and nine months in the department of corrections, although he has 85 days of credit for time served.

Copeland pleaded guilty to a Class 6 felony for motor vehicle theft and a misdemeanor drug possession charge. His plea dismissed charges for Class 5 felony forgery, Class 6 felony theft, two counts of Class 4 felony drug possession and a petty offense for drug paraphernalia possession.

For the motor vehicle charge, Copeland received two years of probation and 90 days in jail, although he has 85 days of credit for time served. His probation requires him to not possess or consume alcohol or drugs and complete a substance abuse evaluation and recommended treatments.

The sentence for the drug possession charge includes a two-year probation, 48 hours of community service, 90 days in jail, and $9,658.50 of fines and costs, including the same $6,700 joint and several restitution as Lance. Probation and jail requirements are concurrent between the counts.

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