Vandals hit Oak Creek vehicles

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— Oak Creek's three police vehicles had the license plates stolen and suffered minor damages after being vandalized over the weekend.

Oak Creek town officials were notified the Chevy Blazers the town uses for police cruisers were damaged Sunday morning, and they notified the Routt County Sheriff's Office.

The only possible serious damage happened to one vehicle parked across the street from the post office on Sharp Street.

That vehicle was missing a gas cap.

"Safely, we have no way of knowing if we should start the engine," Oak Creek Mayor Cargo Rodeman said.

That vehicle also had the words "for sale" painted all over it, as well as the statement "you suck" on one part of the vehicle, Rodeman said.

Routt County Sheriff's Deputy Doug Scherar said the paint was the kind that can be easily removed.

All the vehicles had their tires flattened, the antennas unscrewed from the hoods and the windshield wipers turned over.

Scherar said the only permanent damaged known for sure occurred on one of the windshield wipers when it was turned over and apparently broke.

The other two vehicles were parked at Oak Creek Town Hall and in a medical center parking lot.

"It sounds like a childish prank to me," Scherar said.

The Sheriff's Office is taking the matter seriously, assessing the vandalism as criminal mischief and theft.

Fingerprints and shoeprints were collected near the vehicles and an investigation is ongoing, Scherar said.

Rodeman said the vandalism was a statement to her about the work she has done to re-staff the police force, rather than an effort to damage town property.

"Most of it, I think, was to get at me, not the town," Rodeman said.

Since campaigning and being elected mayor earlier this year, Rodeman has been outspoken about her concerns of Oak Creek's police force and considered disbanding it.

While mayor, the police staff went from three to zero. The board is in the process of hiring a new police chief.

Since the staff disappeared, Oak Creek Town Board members have been parking the police vehicles at strategic spots in the town as a deterrent to speeders.

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