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Video: Grappler device helps Colo. officers tackle auto theft

Six stolen vehicles were reportedly stopped over a period of two weeks in April thanks to the device

By Grace Wride
The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Law enforcement authorities in Colorado have a new crime-fighting tool aimed at putting the brakes on car chases and auto theft, and it’s called ‘The Grappler.’

The Colorado State Patrol released footage of how the Grappler Police Bumper tool works this week following a demo event they hosted on Monday.

So what is it, exactly? Troopers describe it as a tethering device; video of the device in action shows that it deploys from the front bumper of a patrol car and wraps around a fleeing vehicle’s rear wheel, causing it to come to a complete stop.

There have been about 75 successful uses of the device since August 2021, according to CSP. Last month, 9News in Denver reported six stolen vehicles were stopped over a period of two weeks thanks to the device.

State Patrol released dashcam footage of three instances in Colorado Springs where the device was used to stop fleeing suspects in stolen vehicles.

The first video shows police stopping a stolen 2001 Jeep Wrangler at South Union Boulevard and Hancock Expressway in south Colorado Springs. The driver was later charged with motor vehicle theft, found to have previous offenses and sentenced to three years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

The second video shows police stopping the driver of a stolen 2016 Hyundai Accent at Lake Avenue and Venetucci Boulevard in south Colorado Springs . Police charged the suspect with motor vehicle theft, but the district attorney’s office later dropped the charge.

The final video shared by CSP shows police halting a 2011 Mitsubishi Galant which was stolen out of Pueblo. CSP said the Grappler was deployed to “prevent a vehicle pursuit.” The vehicle was stopped at Academy Boulevard and Platte avenues near The Citadel mall; the suspect was charged and later convicted with motor vehicle theft and sentenced to 15 months in the department of corrections.

Colorado was ranked the worst state for auto thefts in 2021, but saw a significant downward trend in the crime in 2023. That trend that has continued into 2024, according to State Patrol.

The State Patrol partners with local police agencies, including the Colorado Springs Department , through multijurisdictional task forces, including the Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement Task Force (BATTLE) and the CATPA Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (C-MATT).

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(c)2024 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
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