Police nab car theft suspect

Steamboat man charged in connection with three stolen vehicles


— A Steamboat Springs man has been charged in connection with the theft of three cars from Victory Motors of Steamboat last week, as well as the 2006 thefts of a motorcycle and an all-terrain vehicle.

Christopher Allen Ecker, 21, was arrested Friday on five counts of aggravated motor vehicle theft, a Class 3 felony; two counts of criminal attempt, a Class 4 felony; and one count of second-degree burglary, also a Class 4 felony. Charges were filed Wednesday by the District Attorney's Office.

As of Wednesday evening, Ecker remained in custody at Routt County Jail, in lieu of a $24,000 bail. Ecker was on parole at the time of his arrest.

Police say the cars were stolen from Victory Motors of Steamboat either Dec. 25 or 26. Police also think the suspect attempted to steal two other cars there.

Victory Motors employees arrived at work the day after Christmas to find a broken window at the showroom, a 2007 Toyota Highlander missing from the garage, and a 2007 Audi Q7 and 2000 Jeep Wrangler missing from the lot, sales manager Emery Bear said Wednesday.

The Highlander had been sold and was due to be delivered to its new owner that morning, Bear said.

Keys also were taken for a 2005 Hummer H2 and 2004 Volkswagen Touareg parked in front of the showroom. The Hummer had a dead battery and partially boxed in the Touareg. Bear said.

"They tried to take the Touareg, but they couldn't get it out of the snow," Bear said.

The Audi and the Jeep were recovered the same day they were reported missing. The Toyota was recovered Friday after police executed a search warrant at Ecker's residence, where they found dealership key tags for the other four vehicles, according to police affidavits.

As of Wednesday, none of the vehicles had been returned to Victory Motors, though none of the cars sustained any damage, police Capt. Joel Rae said.

"Hats off to the P.D. that's $100,000 in cars, at wholesale value," Bear said.

Ecker was previously arrested Aug. 28, 2006, on suspicion of burglarizing a number of Steamboat Springs businesses, after police received a tip that he was trying to sell stolen goods at a campground. He was charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of theft, forgery, criminal impersonation and unlawful use of a financial transaction device, according to police affidavits.

Action Motor Sports reported a Honda ATV valued at $4,484 missing Sept. 28, 2006. After the ATV was located in Steamboat on Oct. 19, 2006, police said two "ignition-specific" keys connected to Ecker were for the stolen vehicle. However, Ecker was not charged for theft of the ATV at the time because he already was headed for jail on the other charges, Rae said.

On Oct. 10, 2006, Action Motor Sports reported a 2006 Yamaha TW200V dual sport motorcycle, valued at $3,745, missing after receiving notice that the vehicle was in a Colorado State Patrol impound lot in Kremmling.

Police said the motorcycle had been seized from Ecker during an Aug. 23, 2006, traffic stop west of Kremmling. Ecker was cited for driving without a valid driver's license or registration.

Police affidavits also state that according to Ecker's FBI crime history, he has three separate arrests for motor vehicle theft in 2002, 2004 and 2005, two fugitive of justice charges, and one escape or attempted escape after arrest charge, all from California.

If Ecker makes bail, he is due to appear in Routt County Court at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 22. Otherwise, he will appear at 1 p.m. Jan. 9.


handyman 9 years, 4 months ago

If this guy is guilty of all of these charges, why isn't the bail set a lot higher? He sure appears to be a habitual offender.


fed10 9 years, 4 months ago

Because if he posts a bond its revenue for Steamboat Springs, because they know that he wil not show up for court so the bond money will be kept, Its all about the all mighty dollar!


Paul Timmons 9 years, 4 months ago

That person has no value to your community. There should be a restraining order issued, prohibiting him from being in your community. That way, anytime he is seen there, he can just be arrested for violating that restraining order. Why should you have to sit back and wait for him to victimize another business, or person.

I know that will never happen, someone will feel that is a violation to his rights. Let's not forget hwo many people he has violated, and had the PD not arrested him, how many others would be in his path. You folks need to stand up and be heard.

That is not the kind of stuff you want to happen up there....


prayforsnow 9 years, 4 months ago

Was there no security system at Victory Motors?


Scott Wedel 9 years, 4 months ago

Ecker was not charged for theft of the ATV at the time because he already was headed for jail on the other charges, Rae said.

So if you are already headed to jail then any crimes committed prior to sentencing don't count??? How in the hell does a guy already with that sort of record from California who then gets arrested for a crime spree last fall that resulted in 8 criminal charges (not including the freebie) end up free to do it again over Christmas???

At the very least, why does a guy on parole get bail instead of having parole revoked and being sent back to jail?


OnTheBusGus 9 years, 4 months ago

We need to rally an angry mob to run him out of town, maybe throw some rocks, release some hounds.


RoxyDad 9 years, 4 months ago

Can anyone find his mugshot to post.

Great idea from Love_boat


1234 9 years, 4 months ago

come on id, need to hear from some one who can put some good light on the subject!!! lol


id04sp 9 years, 4 months ago

I'd say this is pretty typical of how things go. Next time, maybe Victory should put some kind of jiggy on the lights so that they stay on bright all the time. That might get the attention of the CSP, eh?


love_boat 9 years, 4 months ago

I haven't seen a picture of this guy in the paper. It would be useful to know what he looks like so next time he is out of jail looking to steal something or sell some stolen goods he could be picked up sooner. Sounds like he is trying to get attention from someone since he is more into stealing than proffiting from it.


justathought 9 years, 4 months ago

OTBGus, who really needs run out of town is a judge that sets $24,000 bail for someone like Ecker. Noting Ecker's background (FBI reports since he was what, 16?) and now he's facing all these felonies he committed while still on parole, can this judge honestly believe setting bail this low is a good risk? Lock your doors and garage your cars Steamboat, I doubt if this tiger has changed his stripes and thanks for taking such a hard stand against crime judge!


ventrygirl 9 years, 4 months ago

Funny, Ecker doesn't "look" like a criminal. Of course, Ted Bundy didn't either. True, a tiger doesn't loose its' stripes but you can't judge a book by its' cover.


salenaart 9 years, 2 months ago

I am a very close person to him. Yes he needs love and attention. and he do not mean bad or look bad. Unfortunately he's not going to get love and attention by stealing. Don't worry about the low bail, none of us can pay that kind of amount, beside he can and should stay where he's at. You wanna see how he looks like? go to Google and type Colorado inmate locater, than type his name. you'll see his picture from prison last yr.


justathought 9 years, 2 months ago

This seems to be the last article the pilot wrote on this guy (unless it just didn't come up on search), anyone know what happened in court?


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