William Lornes: Cherry Creek mall kidnapping suspect now accused of 1st degree murder
Update: Earlier, we noted that William Lornes, 24, was being held for car theft but wondered if accusations related to a Cherry Creek Shopping Center kidnapping were on the way. Instead, such charges have been preceded by a first-degree murder beef linked to the homicide of Gerald Schwartzman, 73, whose body was found in an alley dumpster near Hudson Street.
At this point, the Denver Police Department is shielding its cards in regard to what appears to have been a one-man crime wave. But we now have a better idea about how the woman grabbed at the mall was able to escape from the trunk of her Saturn, the vehicle Lornes is said to have swiped: She was reportedly a security guard.
Look below to see Lornes's mug shot, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 7:18 a.m. April 15: The kidnapping of a woman at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center led to an arrest early yesterday morning. But thus far, the man in question -- William Lornes, 24 -- hasn't been charged with that crime. Instead, he's being held for alleged car theft and related charges, and he remains in custody of Jefferson County, where his joy ride came to an abrupt end on the side of a highway.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, a deputy was on patrol at around 2 a.m. when he spotted an abandoned vehicle near the 9200 block of Highway 285.
The car, a 2004 Saturn Ion, looked as if it had been in an accident. So the deputy called in the plates and learned about the vehicle's busy day, including that it had been stolen from the Cherry Creek mall with its owner in the trunk, at least at first. She managed to escape not far from the center.
While all this was going on, the deputy reportedly spotted a taxi drive past ferrying a passenger who matched the vivid description of the kidnapping suspect offered by his victim -- an African-American with a tattoo by one eye, another on his neck, and a blue diamond earring in his nose.
After getting the deputy's report, Jeffco authorities ordered a felony traffic stop near C-470 and Alameda. Among the vehicles checked was said cab, which held two passengers, including Lornes. He was promptly turned over to the Colorado State Patrol, whose reps transported him to Jeffco jail.
Right now, the charges against Lornes consist of aggravated motor vehicle theft, driving when his license was "under restraint," failing to notify police of an accident, hit-and-run highway fixture and careless driving. Don't be surprised if a kidnapping beef is added to the list soon.
Look below for our earlier coverage.
Original item, 9:33 a.m. April 14: Yesterday, a woman was in the parking lot of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center when a man approached, produced a weapon and forced her into the trunk of her car -- a space she managed to escape by unlocking the trunk from the inside.
And now, Denver Police believe they have the guy who did it.
The description of the suspect featured plenty of distinguishing features -- an African-American in his late twenties, with one tattoo near his right eye, another one on the right side of his neck, and a blue diamond earring in his nose. He was also thought to be in possession of the woman's 2004 Saturn Ion, seen below.
He apparently didn't get very far in it. According to Denver Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson, Jefferson County deputies -- not the Colorado State Patrol, as other news agencies have reported -- busted a man at about 3 a.m. this morning, "and we are confident based on his description that it's the suspect we're looking for."
That's about all Jackson will divulge at this point. He confirms that the Saturn Ion has been recovered, but he won't say if the suspect was driving it at the time of his arrest -- and neither will he mention where in Jefferson County he was taken into custody. A mug shot is also pending, because lineups are underway. More information should be forthcoming soon, Jackson promises.
In the meantime, the suspect is being held in Denver jail for a crime that's all too reminiscent of the rape in a Denver International Airport concourse allegedly committed by Noel Alexander Bertrand.
Very public places. Very shocking offenses.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Top 25 most violent fugitives in Denver: A mug shot and offense gallery (PHOTOS)."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.