Steamboat Springs Police arrested a 20-year-old man who they suspect is connected to a recent string of burglaries in Steamboat Springs.
Steamboat Springs Det. Capt. Bob Del Valle said Chris Alan Ecker was "somewhat of a transient" and camping in Steamboat. He was arrested Monday after police received a tip.
Ecker was arrested on second and third-degree burglary, two counts of theft, unlawful use of a credit card, forgery and criminal impersonation. The charges stem from crimes that Del Valle said occurred at Straightline Outdoor Sports, The Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center and Backdoor Sports. Police are investigating whether Ecker had any role in several other recent burglaries.
The tip that led police to Ecker came from a man at the Steamboat Camp Ground who reported Sunday morning there was a man who looked like he had "stole a bunch of stuff" and was trying to sell it cheaply, police said Monday.
Steamboat Springs Police officer Jerry Stabile said police discovered the man, who they believe was Ecker, had then taken a taxi Sunday to the Hampton Inn, 725 S. Lincoln Ave.
Police talked to hotel staff Sunday night and found Ecker camping behind the hotel by the railroad tracks. Police tried to contact Ecker, but he ran and police were unable to catch him. Ecker left behind a tent and merchandise they believe was stolen from Backdoor Sports, Del Valle said.
Ecker is a suspect in the Aug. 17 robbery at Backdoor Sports, near Ninth and Yampa Streets. More than $3,700 worth of clothing and camping gear was stolen along with a 1967 BSA motorcycle that belonged to the store's owner.
Police also believe Ecker used a stolen credit card Sunday to purchase $860 worth of merchandise from Straightline Outdoor Sports at Eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue. They believe Ecker stole the credit card Friday from a locker at the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center.
"Our patrolmen did an excellent job in linking the two," Stabile said.
Witnesses identified Ecker using a photo lineup, Stabile said.
Del Valle said they are investigating whether Ecker might have been involved in burglaries or attempted burglaries that took place the nights of Aug. 19 and 20.
Amaze'n Steamboat was broken into Aug. 19, and Terry Sports, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Sugar Run were broken into Aug. 20. Del Valle said Sunday morning there was an attempted burglary at Southside Liquors, where someone broke a window with a rock, which triggered a burglar alarm. Nothing was taken.
Like the Backdoor Sports burglary, all those business were forcibly broken into.
"It seems to be similar and we believe there is possibly a connection," Del Valle said.
Stabile said police are working with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations to see if Ecker could be linked to any other burglaries.