Steamboat Springs For 19 years, one local construction company never had to provide security at any of its work sites in the city.
But that all changed recently, after Native Excavating Inc. experienced repeated vandalism at a construction site at the new Stonebridge subdivision.
"We had to do something," said Ed MacArthur, president of the company.
The company had to secure the construction site at the subdivision, which is near the Sanctuary, after construction equipment was damaged again and again. Dating back to August 1999, vandals hit the site more than seven times, causing more than $40,000 in damage.
The vandalism is still under investigation, Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said. Police have not ruled out environmental terrorism as a motive.
Environmental terrorism "sure is a possibility," Fiebing said. "It happened enough times that we think it was someone who had a problem with the project."
Police believe all the incidents are connected.
"For some reason, we had problems at that site," MacArthur said.
Because of the damage, the company took steps for the first time in its 19 years of business to protect a project here.
MacArthur declined to elaborate on what measures have been taken but indicated the steps have been successful.
"We have not had any problems since," he said. "Hopefully, it will be the end of this type of nonsense."
MacArthur believes it is unfortunate the company was forced to protect the site.
"It never used to be this way," he said. "We never had to protect a site here. We have done jobs in Denver or the Front Range where we had to provide security to a construction site, but never in this area."
The company decided to finally take some measures after the most recent incident, which occurred at the end of July. Five pieces of construction equipment were damaged when sugar or syrup was poured into gas tanks. The sweet stuff caused damage to two trackhoes, two haul trucks and a drill rig.
Whoever is responsible for the damage cut locks on the gas tanks meant to keep people from pouring anything into the machines.
The company has had problems at the Sanctuary site in Fish Creek Canyon ever since construction started last year. Sixty homes are planned in the latest phase of development of the wooded area on the city's west side.
In addition to homes, the subdivision will connect Steamboat Boulevard to North Steamboat Boulevard, which is accessible from Fish Creek Road. The entire area is still in its natural condition.
The first incident of vandalism to Native equipment at the Sanctuary occurred last August when 13 machines were damaged. In addition to the poisoning of gas tanks, fuel lines have been cut and hydraulic systems have been damaged.
The company has been able to repair and replace all of the equipment that has been damaged, MacArthur said.
To reach Gary E. Salazar call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com