Businesses victims of criminal activity

Burglars hit Steamboat, Oak Creek and Yampa

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— At least 10 businesses were burglarized late Wednesday and early Thursday in Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek and Yampa.

Steamboat Springs police Det. Jerry Stabile said Friday that someone broke into six Steamboat businesses between 9 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday, when the first of the burglaries were reported by local business owners.

BAP, the Merchant of Sandwich, Truth Tattoo and three businesses in Kamar Plaza were broken into, he said. The burglar or burglars tried to break into a seventh business in Kamar Plaza but were unsuccessful, Stabile said.

The person or persons who committed the crimes took cash from some businesses and miscellaneous items from others.

Stabile said the police department is investigating the string of burglaries as if they are related.

This recent crime spree comes on the heels of a series of August burglaries in which four or five businesses were broken into. Police arrested a 20-year-old transient man in connection with those burglaries.

On Wednesday, Blue Sky West was broken. The culprit slashed one of the outfitter's $5,000 river rafts but did not take anything of value from the company's warehouse, the owner said.

Steamboat hasn't been the only Routt County town to fall victim to the recent string of burglaries.

Oak Creek police Officer Chris Tritz said two men reportedly broke into Soroco High School and the South Routt School District administration building on Wednesday.

"We think they might have used crowbars to break out the windows," he said.

School officials said two laptops were stolen from the administration building. Nothing was taken from Soroco High School.

Routt County Sheriff's Office deputies on Thursday took reports of burglaries at a business in Yampa that was reportedly burglarized and the Catamount Ranch & Club clubhouse.

Sheriff's Office Lt. Bill Brandenburg said someone broke into the Oak Tree Inn in Yampa and stole tools from a maintenance room. The thief or thieves did not break any windows or doors to gain access to the maintenance room, he said.

Brandenburg also said someone broke into the Catamount Ranch & Club and stole $148 from the golf club's shop.

"We're looking at it as if they might all be connected," he said. "I know Hayden has had a few problems in the last few weeks. It just seems like it could be a bunch of kids on a spell."

Hayden police Chief Jody Lenahan, who retired Friday, said someone broke into Hayden High School on Sept. 30 and took a camera from the school. The thief or thieves broke several windows to gain access to the building, he said.

Lenahan also said someone tried to break into the Hayden Mercantile but was not able to gain access.

"We think some local kids broke into the school, so what happened in the county probably isn't related," he said.

Tritz said the South Routt School District has provided surveillance tapes that may help police identify the suspects.

"This investigation is in its infancy right now. There is still a lot of work to do, and it's going to take a lot of work," Stabile said.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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