Man to turn himself in for welcome sign theft

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— Steamboat Springs police are expecting a 19-year-old Ohio man to turn himself in next week in connection with the theft of two signs welcoming visitors to the city.
The two signs, worth $5,000 each, were found Sept. 7 in an apartment at the D Bar K, 35825 E. U.S. 40.
The signs had been stolen from their resting spots, east and west of the city, during the summer. They had been missing for almost two months.
Steamboat Springs Det. Bob DelValle was able to crack the case by finding out who was renting the room the signs were found in, he said.
"We were able to track the suspect down through his tenant application," DelValle said. "We got a message to him through his parents. I talked to him last week, and he is going to turn himself in next week."
DelValle said that the man, who police are not identifying until he is in custody, called the police department Sept. 13 from Ohio.
"He told us he would turn himself in," DelValle said. "If he does not, we will seek a warrant for his arrest."
Once the man is in custody, he faces a charge of felony theft, he said.
The detective would not give a motive for the theft.
The signs were found by employees of the D Bar K, who were doing some work to the room. The D Bar K notified authorities that the signs were in the room.
The signs were stolen between noon and 4 p.m. July 22. The eastern sign was stolen from its resting place at the intersection of U.S. 40 and East Pine Grove Road. The sign west of the city was stolen from the 1300 block of Lincoln Avenue.
The police department has turned over the signs to the city's parks and recreation department.
Currently, the signs are in the possession of Donald Woodsmith, parks supervisor Michael McCannon said.
Woodsmith "has picked up the signs and is making any necessary repairs," he said. "One of the signs has been damaged."
One of the carved and painted wooden signs was found intact. The second sign has a split in the wood that separates a top portion from the rest of the sign, DelValle said.
Police discovered the signs had been stolen when Woodsmith reported the theft. Woodsmith made the signs for the city 10 years ago and maintains them every year.
McCannon is hopeful the signs will be reinstalled soon.
"As soon as Woodsmith gets the signs back to us, we will put them back up," he said.

To reach Gary E. Salazar call 871-4205 or e-mail gsalazar@amigo.net

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