‘Operation Unicorn’ defendant sentenced to probation after plea deal

Marie Roman (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office)

One of the defendants arrested in a robbery investigation called “Operation Unicorn” has been sentenced to probation as part of a plea deal.

Marie Roman, 36, pleaded guilty Thursday in Boulder District Court to aggravated motor vehicle theft, an additional count to her case that names all of the victims. The original 16 charges against her were dropped by prosecutors.

As part of the deal, Roman was sentenced to 24 months probation. She will serve the first part of this sentence unsupervised while in a program at Arapahoe County Jail, then serve supervised probation once she is released.

Roman, who appeared for the hearing remotely from Arapahoe County Jail, made no comment on the case other than entering the guilty plea.

Boulder District Judge Norma Sierra accepted the plea deal and handed down the stipulated sentence on Thursday.

Prosecutors reserved the right to file a restitution claim later.

Roman; Shane Michael Phillips, 21; and Adrian Cisco Quintana, 44, were all arrested in connection with “Operation Unicorn” in August 2021.

According to the statement, the three suspects are charged with multiple motor vehicle thefts, hacking into porches and vehicular trespassing at 46 known locations in Boulder, Longmont and Lyon between September 2020 and February 2021, with damages estimated at approximately $115,000.

They were also linked to incidents in 12 other jurisdictions in the Denver metro area.

The operation was named “due to the group’s fondness for unicorns”, and investigators said unicorn drawings and figurines left at the various scenes helped investigators connect the incidents.

Phillips also entered a plea deal in his case and was sentenced to prison.

The case against Quintana remains pending.

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