Steamboat Springs 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.