Auto theft investigation targets Rule's property

Task force investigating county commissioner; search warrants executed

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Law enforcement officials are releasing little information concerning a search warrant conducted last week on property where Montezuma County Commissioner Larrie Rule and his wife Pat DeGagne-Rule live.

According to Colorado State Patrol Public Information Officer Sgt. Mike Baker, the investigation is focused on possible auto thefts.

A task force for the Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement - BATTLE - is the one spearheading the case, Baker said.

He said it is not uncommon for search warrants involving auto thefts to take a while to execute, and added this is a case that involves the city, county and the state.

Several law enforcement agencies, led by the Colorado State Patrol, conducted searches over a three-day period, starting on Wednesday at the Rules' home on County Road L.

Larrie Rule is completing his final term (eight years) on the commission this year and his wife Pat DeGagne-Rule waged an unsuccessful campaign for a commissioner seat in the June Republican primary. She is also the former head of the local Republican party.

Rule was not at the regular county commission meeting on Monday, and even before the meeting started, the agenda listed him as being absent. Rule's last official meeting as a county commissioner is scheduled for Jan. 7. New commissioners take office Jan. 8.

When approached at Monday's meeting, commissioners Steve Chappell and Gerald Koppenhafer declined to comment on the case.

The CSP said more information will be released later this week but at this time it's not releasing more information because the case is an active investigation.

Calls to the Journal last week reported seeing a large number of law enforcement vehicles at the Rule home Wednesday and Thursday. The home also operates as the Rule Trucking business.

Dave Baker, owner of D & L Services, whose property is near to where the Rules live, said he counted 13 law enforcement vehicles at the Rule's property on Wednesday and Thursday.

He also said it appeared that two cement mixer vehicles were confiscated and driven away. "I really don't have a clue," Baker said about why he thinks the Rules were targeted. "I have not heard anything about what actually happened."

Baker said the Rules sold their truck repair shop years ago but still has an existing business where the warrant was served last week.

The address for both Larrie Rule's home and Rule Trucking is 26184 Road L.

Montezuma County Sheriff's Office has also declined to comment about the case, instead referring all questions to the Colorado State Patrol, which is the lead agency.

Calls to the Rule's cell and home phones were not answered Monday afternoon and the number to his business has been disconnected.