Former sergeant from Aurora, CO, charged as an adjunct in pipe bombing assaults

Curtiss Christensen is charged with buying guns for the suspect and then donating a vehicle that he knew was used in the crime, an affidavit said.

AURORA, Colo. – –

A retired Aurora Police Department (APD) sergeant in 2006 was arrested and charged as an accessory in connection with two pipe bomb explosions in December and January.

Court documents show Curtiss Christensen was charged with the following charges:

  • Firearms – purchase of straw
  • Accessories to a crime
  • Tampering with physical evidence

He was arrested on December 25, 2020 and January 7, 2021 as part of an investigation into pipe bomb explosions in Aurora, according to an affidavit.

Scott Campbell, a noted convicted criminal, is the prime suspect in this case. According to the affidavit, Christensen bought two firearms and turned them over to him.

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On December 25, 2020, APD officials responded to the E. Mansfield Ave area. 18294 for an explosion report.

A homeowner in the area called 911 and said she heard a loud explosion and wanted officers to investigate. The answering officer noticed a hole about 2 inches in diameter in the front window of the house that appeared to have been caused by a projectile, the affidavit said. The officer followed the likely path of the projectile and located a small black metal pipe fitting on the kitchen floor.

The officers checked footage from a home surveillance camera in the area that showed a dark SUV towing a small trailer in the area at around 5:10 a.m. The driver appeared to drop a fuse-lit device from the driver’s side window before continuing south on East Mansfield Avenue, the affidavit read.

About 10 seconds later, the video shows an explosion in the area where the device was dropped.

Just before 5 a.m. on January 7, officers replied to an address on the 4600 block of South Pagosa Circle. The homeowner reported that she thought someone had fired a shot through her bedroom window.

Once at the apartment, the victim showed officials damage to a window, broken blinds and damaged drywall on the other side of the room, the affidavit said. The officers found no bullets but found a piece of cast iron and later found a cast iron “pipe cap” on the street outside the house, the affidavit said.

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Security footage from a house showed someone in a small limo dropping an “ignited device” out of a window and then driving away. A few seconds later there was an explosion. Officials noted that even though it was a different vehicle, the actions were very similar to the previous December 25 incident. After examining the remains of both devices, investigators found that they contained similar parts and were likely built by the same person, the affidavit said.

DNA was collected from the parts of both bombs and APD was told that the samples were sworn to match Campbell, who is a convicted felon.

Officials conducted surveillance at an address associated with Campbell and discovered the home was a covered trailer and a 2004 Christensen-registered Nissan Pathfinder. It matched the description of the vehicle used in the December 25 bombings, the affidavit says.

A search warrant was issued in the home and officials said they found bomb-making materials, weapons, ammunition and handwritten notes describing the construction of the equipment.

When confronted, Campbell confessed his actions and explained them in letters of apology to the victims, the affidavit reads.

According to an affidavit, Campbell shared a house with Christensen and his family.

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The affidavit states that someone recognized the vehicle and trailer that were involved in the December 25 bombing and texted Cambell about it. After that, there was an exchange between Christensen and Campbell where the two discussed moving the SUV and trailer so they weren’t together and not in the house they shared, the affidavit said. Christensen also advised Campbell, according to the affidavit, not to pay for a warehouse, as that “leaves a paper trail”.

When interviewed by officials, Christensen denied knowing anything about the bombs, saying he lived at home with his family and Campbell, who used to be with his daughter and is now a friend, according to the affidavit.

Christensen said during the interview that Campbell did not own a car but occasionally drove his vehicles, including the Pathfinder and a Nissan Sentra. He went on to say that he no longer had the Pathfinder because he donated it to Step Denver “sometime between Christmas and New Years”, the affidavit said. According to APD records, the vehicle was donated on December 30th and Christensen received “no financial compensation,” the affidavit said. Investigators said they found this strange as it appeared that he was “low on money” and likely living on check-to-check.

Investigators found that Christensen lied when he said he knew nothing about the bombings based on a taped conversation between Campbell and Christensen’s wife in which she acknowledged the three spoke about Campbell’s involvement, the affidavit said . Text messages between Christensen and Campbell on December 25 also indicate, according to the affidavit, that he was aware of the bombings and Campbell’s involvement.

In a message, he told Campbell to “get rid of everything” “before the ATF is involved,” the affidavit reads. Campbell ultimately ignored that advice, according to the affidavit.

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