Former Aurora Police Sergeant accused of serving to cowl up pipe bombs

AURORA, Colorado. An Aurora Police Sergeant, who retired in 2006, is charged with helping a suspect of two pipe bombs in Aurora cover up the crimes, an affidavit said.

Curtiss Howard Christensen, 69, has been charged with first degree arson for tampering with physical evidence and illegally buying firearms. He placed a $ 75,000 bond on March 5.

He is a former sergeant with the Aurora Police Department and retired in 2006.

On Christmas Day 2020 and January 7, 2021, two pipe bombs were detonated in Aurora, damaging three houses. Nobody was injured.

Scott Campbell, 45, who is accused of detonating both bombs, was arrested in mid-January and charged with attempted first degree murder, first degree arson and possession of a gun by a previous perpetrator.

Aurora Police Department

Investigators learned that after the crime related to the Christmas Day incident, Christensen acted as an accessory, tampered with physical evidence, and knowingly provided or transferred two firearms to Campbell, who was living at his home with Christensen’s family. According to an affidavit, authorities knew Christensen knew Campbell was a convicted felon.

The incidents occurred in the following areas:

  • 18200 block of E. Mansfield Avenue, Aurora (about 5:30 a.m.)
  • 4630 block of S. Pagosa Circle, Aurora (around 4:45 a.m.)

After the two explosions, authorities determined that the likelihood of someone being injured or killed is very high and that the person responsible is likely to continue to detonate the pipe bombs, according to an affidavit.

Investigators found that the components used to make the homemade explosives were similar, further strengthening their belief that they were made by the same person or people according to the affidavit.

Upon reviewing the surveillance footage, authorities found that a suspect lit the fuse for each device while driving and dropped it from the driver’s side window while the vehicle was still moving. According to an affidavit, the pipe bombs landed in the middle of the street in densely populated residential areas. This meant the suspects did not control the direction of the bombs’ end caps.

“During the detonation in both cases, the end caps of each device penetrated the exterior walls and windows of residential buildings and migrated through houses in the area,” says the affidavit. “It is just a matter of luck that people in these homes were not injured or killed by splinters or the end cap projectiles from those explosions.”

Pipe bomb damage

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According to an affidavit, authorities found that this meant that the suspect or suspects intended to injure or kill local residents or were indifferent to the potential risk of injury.

Parts of the bomb were taken to the Aurora Police Crime Scene Department for laboratory and DNA analysis. On January 15, the lab found that the DNA on parts of both pipe bombs matched and that the DNA profile was sworn to match one in the Colorado Offender Database for Campbell.

Upon reviewing the records, authorities found that Campbell lived on the 3500 block on S. Uravan Street in Aurora. An Aurora Police Sergeant had previously examined the area and found that an affidavit indicated that a covered caravan was parked on the side of the residence.

Authorities also found a 2004 Nissan Pathfinder registered at Campbell’s address under the names Curtiss and David Christensen. The suspicious vehicle in the bombings was described by affidavit as a dark SUV pulling a utility vehicle trailer. Investigators said they believed the Pathfinder and the trailer were both involved in the pipe bomb incident on Christmas Day.

On January 15, 2021, the authorities were serving a search and arrest warrant in the house on Uravan Street. Campbell was arrested and evidence recovered from the house including:

  • Components for making bombs
  • Fuses
  • Pyrodex (similar to black powder)
  • Magnesium powder and billets
  • Aluminum powder
  • Handwritten notes describing the construction and performance of several reconstructed and detonated bombs
  • Multiple firearms

In an interview, Campbell confessed to building and detonating the bombs. He was arrested.

His cell phone was confiscated as evidence.

At that point, investigators found information indicating that Christensen, a former APD sergeant, was involved as an accessory after the Christmas Day bombing. They also learned that Christensen lived on Uravan Street with his wife, son, and Campbell. His wife would later say that Campbell and the daughter of the Christensens had a date and that Campbell had gotten into hard times and moved in with them.

On the phone, authorities found texts between Campbell and Christensen talking about parking the trailer and Nissan in different locations after they were both found to have been involved in the bombings together. According to the affidavit, Christensen recommended not paying for a garage because of the paper trail.

In an interview with Christensen while the warrant was on duty, authorities learned that Campbell does not have a car but does occasionally drive Christensen’s Nissan Sentra. Christensen said he previously owned a Nissan Pathfinder but, according to an affidavit, donated it to Step Denver between Christmas and New Years.

Christensen told police he wasn’t sure who drove Pathfinder Christmas morning but assumed it was Scott. When Christensen came home from work that day, a trailer was attached to the car.

He also said he saw gunpowder in the garage but believed it was for Campbell when he reloaded ammunition. However, authorities would later discover that Christensen knew Campbell was a previously convicted criminal and therefore possession of firearms and ammunition was prohibited and should not be reloaded. Campbell also “had” access to Christensen’s Glock.

While searching the house, police found “significant amounts of ammunition” in Campbell’s bedroom, according to an affidavit.

In a recorded prison call between Campbell and Christensen’s wife, she made comments indicating that her husband knew Campbell was involved in the explosives and that he knew this before Campbell’s arrest. Once she said, “I really wish you got rid of it all when Curt said if the ATF interfered …” This also indicated that she was aware of Campbell’s actions according to the affidavit.

Furthermore, the fact that Christensen allegedly directed Campbell to “get rid of everything” is “indicative,” the affidavit reads. If he had just cleaned the firearms there would be no need for ammunition in his room, the document goes on. Investigators never found gun cleaning kits or equipment while searching for the house.

“This news would coincide with Curtiss Christensen, who advised Scott Campbell to destroy evidence of his involvement in the pipe bomb detonations before the ATF found out that Scott Campbell was involved,” the document reads.

During recorded prison calls between Christensen and Campbell, authorities learned that Christensen was living from paycheck to paycheck and did not have enough money. Investigators said he was unlikely to donate a vehicle – the Pathfinder – if he could sell it for money instead.

Investigators also found that Campbell and Christensen discussed in September and October 2020 that Campbell tried to acquire a rifle but could not because he is a convicted felon. He asked Christensen to help him. From this case, it emerges that on October 3, 2020, according to an affidavit, Christensen purchased a Spike’s Tactical ST15 rifle for Campbell. Christensen’s wife confirmed this in an interview with police on January 15.

The two men also discussed buying large quantities of ammunition.

Based on all of this information, investigators determined that Christensen knew Campbell was responsible for detonating the pipe bombs and that the act was criminal. In addition, evidence suggests that Christensen tried to hide physical evidence (the Pathfinder). He is also charged with buying a firearm for a convicted criminal.

On March 5, Christensen announced a $ 75,000 bond issue.

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