Stolen Property Found In Home Of Denver's City Attorney

Mayor's Office Tells 7NEWS Investigators: Manzanares On 'Leave'

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper ordered that City Attorney Larry Manzanares be placed on "investigatory leave" after learning that a stolen laptop computer was found in Manzanares' home.

The mayor is also requesting an independent, outside investigation in the case.

Denver police were investigating the theft of a laptop computer and ultimately traced the computer to the Manzanares' home.

Manzanares spoke exclusively with 7NEWS Investigator Tony Kovaleski. Kovaleski asked the former judge, "How did you obtain the computer?"

Manzanares replied, "Well, rather foolishly, and I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I bought it from a guy in a parking lot."

Manzanares said he bought the computer sometime in January from a man in a parking lot near the City and County building.

"It was rather foolish of me to even think about buying a computer from a fellow in a parking lot, but, being kind of naive I guess, I bought it, and didn't have any idea that it has been stolen," Manzanares said.

Manzanares said the man claimed to need money for bail.

Sources tell 7NEWS the computer belonged to Denver District Court and it was reported stolen from the court, inside the City and County building.

Manzanares told Kovaleski that police used Internet tracking and ultimately discovered that the computer was in use inside Manzanares' home.

Kovaleski asked, "There are some that are going to watch this and say, 'You're the former judge. You're the city attorney. If anybody should know better, it's you.' Is that a fair argument?"

"You now, it was foolish on my part to buy a computer on the street and all I can tell you about it is that I’m embarrassed about it. I was mortified to find out about it," Manzanares said.

Manzanares returned the computer when contacted by law enforcement. He said until he was contacted by 7NEWS, he wasn't aware of any criminal investigation.

"I certainly did not take it. I certainly would not have ... would not jeopardize my career for a computer, but nonetheless, I recognize that buying a computer in a parking lot is not a very smart thing to do," he said.

In a statement to 7NEWS, Hickenlooper said Friday, "We are extremely concerned about the serious issues raised by this situation and the fact we were not made aware of the investigation until today."

7NEWS Investigators have learned a special prosecutor will likely be appointed early next week. The case requires a special prosecutor because of potential conflicts with the district attorney's office and Denver Police Department.