On 2/24/2013 San Juan County Sheriff Deputies responded to an address on Road 4277, in the Navajo Dam area, in regards to a residential burglary. The homeowner reported multiple items had been stolen from his residence, including approximately 15 to 20 guns. Deputies began working the case and soon developed 19-year-old Markus Johnson and 19-year-old Lyle Howell (the former tenant) as suspects in the theft. Both men were tracked down and interviewed, and both eventually confessed to the crime. They cooperated in returning numerous items of property to include 12 of the stolen guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Deputies learned Howell had located a boat for sale on Craig’s List, from someone out of Colorado Springs, CO. Howell had contacted the unsuspecting seller and arranged a trade of the boat for two of the stolen rifles. The man made the trip to Durango with the boat, where the exchange took place. Detectives later made contact with the man, and authorities, in Colorado Springs and secured both rifles.
Howell, who is a MP (military police officer) for the National Guard, was charged with Aggravated burglary, Larceny, Disposing of Stolen Property and Criminal damage to property. Johnson was charged with Larceny, Accessory to Larceny, Receiving stolen property and Disposing of Stolen Property. Both men were booked into the San Juan County Detention Center on their charges.