Paul Disenso
Paul Disenso

A 32-year-old Loveland man used increasingly brazen techniques to steal thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise from Target stores across the Front Range, prosecutors said Monday.

Paul Joseph Disenso II started stealing smaller electronics, such as Flip video cameras, in February 2010 and graduated to big-screen TVs that he was seen on security cameras wheeling out of stores in shopping carts, Boulder County deputy district attorney Chris Estoll said in his opening statements for Disenso's trial.

If convicted of felony theft, Disenso -- whose alleged shoplifting spree prompted security alerts at Target stores across Colorado -- could face up to six years in prison. He's accused of taking items from Targets in Longmont, Loveland, Brighton, Fort Collins, Westminster and Thornton.

Estoll told jurors Monday that Disenso would walk into stores, take what he wanted off the shelf, remove the device that would sound the alarms, and walk out the doors and past the security cameras without making any attempt to cover his face. He would spend just minutes in each store, Estoll said.

The more success he had, the bigger the items he took, Estoll said. On May 21, 2010, the day authorities finally caught up with him, Disenso is accused of entering two Target stores -- one in Longmont and one in Loveland -- and taking a big-screen TV from each, according to prosecutors.

When officers tracked him down at his home that day, Disenso confessed to taking a TV but said he wasn't responsible for the other thefts.

His defense attorney Andrea Hall told jurors Monday that her client only is guilty of that one theft, and prosecutors have "not one shred of evidence" linking him to the other crimes. Target employees never contacted Disenso before the day of his arrest, and although prosecutors have pictures and videos of a Hispanic male walking out of Target stores, the footage never shows him concealing anything.

"Is there only one Hispanic male in northern Colorado?" Hall said.

Estoll said Target security workers discovered the thefts while checking inventory against sales. He said they linked the disparities in items that were missing to Disenso through video footage of him taking those items off the shelves.

In addition to his case in Boulder County, Disenso has eight open theft cases in other Colorado counties including Arapahoe, Jefferson and Larimer.

Disenso, who was free on bond, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of theft and pawnbroker violations. He's being held in the Boulder County Jail.