Police arrested a 19-year-old Steamboat Springs man Sunday on suspicion of breaking into a gas station and stealing two bags of chips, as well as taking spare change from six unlocked cars. Jacob Michael Preston remained in custody at Routt County Jail as of Monday evening.
Steamboat Springs Police Department Detective Jerry Stabile said officers were led to Preston while investigating a report of a stolen ring. Stabile did not say what specifically led to Preston being identified as a suspect.
After his arrest on suspicion of stealing the ring, Preston "made some admissions to the other incidents," Stabile said. Those admissions led police to charge Preston with second-degree burglary, two counts of theft and six counts of criminal trespass.
Police allege that early Saturday morning, Preston broke the front window of the Southside Station with rocks, entered the convenience store and stole two bags of Tostitos before leaving through the back door.
At about the same time, someone entered six unlocked cars in the area and took "small amounts of coined money," Stabile said. It doesn't appear as if anything else was stolen from the cars, he said.
Police continue to collect and analyze evidence, including blood found at the convenience store where it appears the burglar was cut on the broken glass. Stabile said the blood and a sample of Preston's DNA will be compared by Colorado Bureau of Investigation technicians.
Steve Peterson, who owns Southside Station with his wife, Denise, said the theft was caught on video. Peterson turned the tape over to police.
Peterson said the chips were valued at $3 to $4, and it doesn't appear the burglar took anything else.
"That's it as far as we can tell. I think he missed the cheese dip," Peterson said.
Peterson estimated that repairs to the front windows and a nearby wall will total less than $1,000.
Stabile said detectives also are investigating possible connections with Saturday's incidents and previous car break-ins in Steamboat.
"We tried to connecting those dots, but we still have stuff pending at CBI," he said.
Preston is being held at Routt County Jail on a $10,000 bond.