LAKEWOOD, Colo. - After weeks of sounding the alarm, the couple that found a tracking bracelet on their lawn has received no response from the Department of Corrections or the monitoring company.
Almost seven weeks after the tracking device was found, CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta started making calls and finally got the DOC to respond.
Thursday, department spokeswoman Allison Morgan admitted the report of the bracelet fell through a gap in their community service system.
The device was found on June 3, and reported the same day. Satellite tracking bracelets are used by authorities to monitor prison parolees and people on probation, including violent criminals and sex offenders.
"My husband went out one Sunday morning to pick up the papers and we found this device on the lawn," said Nina Else, a Lakewood resident. "We've never seen one before but we knew right away it was an ankle monitoring bracelet."
The black device has two rubber straps that cannot be reconnected. A clasp appears to be missing.
The straps extend from a sealed, cylindrical plastic device. A rubber flap can be lifted to reveal an apparent charging or computer interface plug.
Else said a red light on the device was blinking when her husband found it. The light turned yellow before finally turning off.
CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta asked Else if she called the phone number printed on the bracelet.
"I called the number. It turned out to be a Boulder outfit. You can't talk to anybody. It turned out to be a monitoring company," she said. "(They) wanted us to return it for a reward."
The ankle bracelet is part of BI Incorporated's ExecuTrack One line. According to the company's website, it is "lightweight, rugged, tamper-resistant and has an extensive battery life. A one-piece GPS system makes inventory management more convenient and is less likely to result in client misuse or lost equipment."
Else also found that information, but found there was no one to talk to about what she'd found.
"There was no way to leave a message to say, 'Hey we have this. It's an advanced one. Maybe you need it back?'"
Conscious of Marchetta's recent reporting about mismanagement in the DOC, including the case of Evan Ebel, who removed his tracking bracelet before killing two people, Else decided to contact the department directly.
Else said her messages were never returned.
"They never called me. They never emailed me," she said. "It's been six or seven weeks now."
Marchetta asked, "You called them and emailed them both to let them know you had this?"
"Yes," Else confirmed.
Else sent her email to the DOC on June 3. On June 6, she received an email saying her "inquiry has been forwarded to the Director of Adult Parole and Community Corrections Office to address."
Else never got another message.
"Nobody cares about this guy," Else said. "I'm appalled, because we've already had problems with people cutting off their ankle bracelet and then committing horrendous crimes."
Morgan says the DOC was able to confirm the bracelet Else found was not from a state agency in Colorado. She admitted, however, that Else's inquiries were not properly handled.
"We did not provide customer service," Morgan said.
Else is, understandably, alarmed by the bracelet and the way her inquiries were handled. Now that the DOC says it wasn't issued to one of their parolees, there may be even more questions.
"Who was wearing this? What've they been doing since? You don't cut one of these off with the intent to go shopping," Else said.
Daniel Kagan, the Democratic state representative for District 3 and a member of the judiciary committee, says he wants to hold a hearing about the DOC's tracking policies in September.
"If we are gonna release people on parole we have to make sure they're being supervised and not making mischief or worse," he said.
Marchetta told Kagan about the difficulty Else encountered when trying to report the bracelet.
"They're worried this could belong to an Evan Ebel," she told the representative.
"And they're absolutely right," he said.
Later he added, "We've got to make sure that this type of screw up doesn't continue, because public safety is at risk here."