21 years: Ex-exterminator sentenced in thefts

Charles Trogdon will appeal ruling

Trogdon Enlarge photo

Trogdon

An exterminator who was convicted of stealing personal belongings from his customers’ homes in Archuleta and La Plata counties was sentenced Wednesday to 21 years in prison.

Charles Edward Trogdon, 51, maintained his innocence to the end. He made a brief statement Wednesday in 6th Judicial District Court to District Judge Jeffrey Wilson.

“All I can say to you, Judge Wilson, is that I totally agree that there are victims here – people have been robbed – but all I can tell you is that my father, Jesus in heaven, knows that I’m innocent, and all I can do is pray,” he said. “That’s all I have to say.”

A 12-person jury convicted Trogdon earlier this year on 16 counts, including felony burglary, felony theft and attempted theft. He was found “not guilty” on 11 counts.

Trogdon was the owner of Professional Exterminator in La Plata County.

Authorities accused him of using his position to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of guns, cash, jewelry, collector coins and other valuables from dozens of victims during a 30-year career in La Plata County.

Prosecutors charged Trogdon in only the most recent thefts they felt could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

In some cases, the thefts occurred during scheduled visits. In others, he returned to his customers’ homes and broke in while they were away.

Assistant District Attorney Christian Champagne said Trogdon worked to gain customers’ trust. He sent them gifts, listened to their personal stories and shared his own stories – all the while stealing from them.

Trogdon lived an extravagant life, Champagne said. He had multiple houses, boats, snowmobiles and took trips around the world.

He since has transferred all of his assets to his wife, preventing victims from obtaining restitution – of which he owes at least $10,000, Champagne said.

He was represented by two defense lawyers – David Kaplan of Denver and William Herringer of Durango.

After the trial, Trogdon fired his lawyers and hired a new one, Nicolas Geman of Denver, to handle further legal proceedings. That is partly why it has taken almost eight months for sentencing to occur.

Outside the courtroom Wednesday, Geman declined to comment about the case other than to say an appeal is in the works.

Trogdon was arrested Nov. 1, 2010, after a woman watched him enter her home without permission, open a dresser drawer and steal money where money previously had gone missing.

Authorities served multiple search warrants at Trogdon’s home and recovered dozens of items that had been stolen from other customers’ homes over a period of many years.

Trogdon said he purchased many of the items at local flea markets.

Wilson wasn’t buying it.

“Mr. Trogdon, I don’t have any doubt you’re guilty,” he said. “I listened to all the evidence, and I think that what you’re convicted of, what you’re charged of, was just the tip of the iceberg of what you did.”

He said: “You violated the trust of a lot of people who thought they were your friends, they were your clients.”

shane@durangoherald.com

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