On June 2, 2012, at about 3:47 p.m., a Saturday, Christian Paetsch walked into a Wells
Fargo Bank in Aurora, Colorado, wearing gloves, a bee-keeper’s mask, and dark clothes
that concealed him from head to toe. In one hand Paetsch held an air horn, and in the
other, a handgun. After blasting the air horn, he yelled for everyone to get down on the
floor. He then snatched stacks of money from the teller’s drawer, stuffed them into his
coat pockets, and fled.
Unknown to Paetsch, one of the stacks of money contained a Global Positioning
System (GPS) tracking device. Seconds after Paetsch had stolen the money from the
teller drawer, the tracker began transmitting a silent signal to the Aurora Police
Department, which allowed police to follow the tracker’s street location on a computer
monitor. Using these tools, police could locate the tracker to about a 60-foot diameter.
Soon after the money left the bank, dispatchers began radioing the tracker’s location to
police officers in the field.
About five minutes after the robbery, dispatch reported that the tracker had stopped
about a half-mile from the bank. Three minutes later, dispatch reported that the tracker
was again moving, this time at speeds of 30 to 40 miles per hour, which likely meant that
the currency, the tracker, and the bank robber were traveling in a car. Soon after this,
dispatchers reported that the tracker was moving eastbound on Iliff Avenue toward
Buckley Road and then that it had stopped at the intersection.
At 4:01 p.m., about 14 minutes after the bank robbery, Officer Kristopher McDowell
arrived at the intersection and saw traffic stopped at a red light. Dispatch told him that the
tracker was still stopped there. Before the light turned green, under pressure to make a
- 3 -