Oak Creek County authorities are trying to link three teenagers who admitted to stealing a gun out of a Phippsburg man's locked truck to four other rifles stolen from a south Routt County resident.
Scattered haphazardly off the side of County Road 8, a mile east of Yampa, were what officials believed to be evidence of a series of thefts in south Routt. Undersheriff Dan Taylor discovered the missing property after interviewing the three teens. Two of the teens were south Routt County residents.
Taylor received an anonymous tip last week that led to the arrest of 18-year-old Kenneth Enus Ferrier, of Phippsburg, and the detaining of a 15-year-old Phippsburg boy, whose name was withheld because of his age.
Ferrier was arrested on suspicion of felony theft by receiving, and the 15-year-old was detained on suspicion of felony theft and criminal trespass related to the burglaries on April 26.
A day later, Steamboat resident Jon Eric Gumm, 19, turned himself into authorities after learning that police had named him as being connected with the crimes.
Gumm was arrested on suspicion of felony theft and first-degree criminal trespass.
Undersheriff Taylor and county Investigator RachelIe Redmond waded through the tall grass on the scenic private property to recover orange construction signs, a U.S. Forest Service sign, what looked like orange road flags and a hand joiner that they suspected had been stolen by the teens.
A little farther into the property, near a stream and hidden under a tree was a Remington 280 rifle.
The weapon was identified as belonging to a Phippsburg man, who reported it missing along with a set of keys taken from his locked truck on March 25.
Taylor hopes to link the stolen gun to four other rifles stolen from a south Routt County resident's home on April 8, and to CDs valued at $500 that were stolen from a Phippsburg woman's unlocked car on March 27.
"We don't know for sure if these kids took them but it was in the same time-frame," Taylor said.
Taylor and county deputies raided the home of Ferrier, who lives with his mother, before the arrests in hopes of finding all of the missing items. They came up with nothing except a message on the answering machine warning of the raid.
"Somebody during the interrogation told him," Taylor said.
Officials had interviewed a number of persons and Taylor suspected that one of them had leaked the information about the raid.
Other charges are pending against Ferrier and Gumm for theft of the street signs, the joiner and other random stolen material found east of Yampa.
However, none of those have been reported missing. Taylor hopes that someone will report the items as missing.
If that happens, Taylor expects that after the cost of the materials is added up, the charge will be a misdemeanor of some kind.
"We haven't had anything surface yet," Oak Creek Police Chief Dan Kelliher said.
Police in Oak Creek are keeping an eye out for anything that has happened in Oak Creek that could be connected to the teenagers.
"We'll see what we can do," Kelliher said.
Both boys are being held at the Routt County Jail on a $5,000 bond and are waiting to be officially charged.
Taylor said two other young men are also suspected to be connected to the burglaries but they have not been arrested.
The Routt County Sheriff's Department was informed about the teenagers' possible involvement with the burglaries from a tip through the Routt County Crime Stoppers program.
It was the first time that a tip through the 18-month-old program has led to an arrest, Taylor said.
"We feel great and we are very pleased," he said. The tipster will receive anywhere from $50 to $2,000 for giving the information to authorities, which led to the arrests.
Crime Stoppers has about $17,000 available for the anonymous tipsters.
To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail email@example.com