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Denver police look clueless in 9News identity-theft reports

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Denver Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson probably cringes every time he gets a phone call from Channel 9 reporter Deborah Sherman. Twice in recent days, questions she's posed to him related to an identity-theft story have made him, and the DPD as a whole, seem like Keystone cops.

The tale began when Denver resident Brandon Michael purchased the contents of a storage unit at auction, only to discover that these items included hundreds of passports, birth certificates, driver's licenses and so on. He quickly surmised that this booty could be related to identity theft and took it to a DPD branch -- where, as Sherman reported on Sunday, the officer on duty told him to throw it away. Instead, he lugged it to 9News, whose inquiries were taken much more seriously than Michael's original questions had been -- although Jackson sought to make amends in subsequent comments. "He's a good citizen," he said of Michael in a Channel 9 interview. "He obviously realized what was going on and he took the appropriate measures. We want other people to come forward, too."

And yet, when someone else did, the DPD screwed the pooch again.

Paul Simmons, a man with an arrest record in Florida for grand theft, burglary and dealing in stolen property, originally rented the storage unit -- and although he told Sherman in the story linked above that he had nothing to do with the documents Michael found, he was obviously a person of interest, as a mouthpiece on a TV drama might say. But as Sherman reported last night in a report viewable below, Simmons tried to turn himself at the Denver City Jail on Monday night but was sent packing. Turns out the jail is under the jurisdiction of the Denver Sheriff's Department, not the DPD -- and Jackson insisted to Sherman in a text version of the package that had Simmons walked to the nearby police headquarters, as he'd been instructed to do, he would have been cuffed and processed immediately. Instead, the cops had to track him down and arrest him the next day.

Jackson may have a point when it comes to this last assertion, but only a small one. Thus far, Channel 9 has done most of the heavy lifting for the police in this case -- and the press's resources are stretched thin enough without having to add law enforcement to its to-do list.

Here's Sherman's latest report:

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