Man suspected in car thefts


A Nederland man was arrested early Tuesday morning on suspicion of breaking into at least a dozen vehicles in the downtown area.

Brett Owen Cotter, 36, was charged with first-degree criminal trespass, theft and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Steamboat Springs police Sgt. Rich Brown said the vehicles were broken into between 10 p.m. Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday. Six break-ins occurred in front of the Steamboat Springs Fire Department on Yampa Avenue, another four were reported in the Westland Trailer Park, also on Yampa Avenue, and two on Oak Street.

The six cars broken into in front of the fire department belonged to firefighters who were responding to an accident on River Road.

Brown said reports indicated the culprit was mainly looking for money; other valuables were left behind in the vehicles in front of the fire department. None of the break-ins was forced -- each vehicle that was broken into had been left unlocked, Brown said.

"They were all crimes of opportunity," Brown said.

Steamboat Springs police Officer Jeff Thalmayer received a description of the man when a Westland Trailer Park resident heard his car door open and his dog barking. The resident went outside to investigate and saw a man next to his car start walking away. The resident returned to the house to call the police.

A few hours later, the police saw Cotter, who matched the description given by the Westland Trailer Park resident, walking along U.S. Highway 40 near the Routt 66 gas station west of town.

"Just the area where all of these occurred and the similar circumstances lead us to believe he was associated with all or most of (the break-ins)," Brown said.

Cotter was booked into the Routt County Jail at 4:20 a.m. Tuesday.

He has not yet been released from jail. His bond is set at $2,000, and he will appear in Routt County Court at 1 p.m. today.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail


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