Sunday, December 15, 2002
Steamboat Springs Skiers and boarders take chances on the slopes every day.
They shouldn't take chances with their gear.
Local law enforcement encourages winter enthusiasts to take extra precautions with their equipment this winter.
"Lock them up or they might not be there," said Art Fiebing, assistant police chief of the Steamboat Springs Police Department. '"It's fairly simple, if you want to hang to valuable sports equipment."
Ski and snowboard theft is a regrettable part of ski season. A few thefts have already been reported since the Steamboat Ski Area opened last month.
Simple deterrents can go a long way toward discouraging theft.
"You are trying to make it so they steal someone else's stuff," Fiebing said.
Easy access to gear encourages theft on and off the slopes. Unlocked boards or skis are an open invitation to steal. And thieves don't have to try too hard to blend in with the ski season crowd when they walk off with their prize.
Skiers and riders should lock their equipment, even if the gear is in a rack, Fiebing said.
Locks are available at a number of sporting goods stores in Steamboat.
Sue Carpenter of Christy Sports said ski and snowboard locks come in a few varieties and vary slightly in price.
"It's unfortunate that we have to, but we do sell them," she said.
Most locks cost less than $20. It's a small price to pay for peace of mind.
One final tug is important before walking away to make sure locks are properly closed and the equipment is secure.
Fiebing warned against separating skis on racks. Thieves will watch skiers separate their equipment and don't need too much time to figure it out.
The best way to prevent ski and snowboard theft is to keep gear out of plain view, he said.
Thieves aren't tempted to take what they can't see.
People who fall victim to ski and snowboard theft don't usually see their gear again. Thieves often sell the gear out of town.
Police conduct several anti-theft operations throughout the winter. But sting operations take time and manpower and their success at catching people in the act varies, Fiebing said.
People lock their houses and their cars, he added, so it only makes sense to lock their sports equipment.