Routt County teenager sentenced to probation, public service



Zane Russell Elston

— A local teenager suspected of breaking into cars and a cabin as well as setting fires in Stagecoach in June has avoided jail time and instead will be on probation for three years and have to complete 125 hours of public service.

Zane Russell Elston, who was 18 at the time of the incident, also was ordered to pay more than $5,000 to the victims.

Elston and a 16-year-old boy were accused of breaking into five cars and vandalizing construction equipment along with a cabin at the top of the old Stagecoach ski area.

Routt County Undersheriff Ray Birch said in June that it is thought the teenagers also are the ones who started a bonfire outside the cabin using benches and propane tanks. A smoldering broom was found inside the cabin, which property co-owner Chris Wittemyer thought was an attempt to burn down the cabin.

Information about the juvenile’s case was unavailable.

The juvenile and Elston were arrested on suspicion of multiple charges including second-degree burglary, fourth-degree arson, first-degree trespassing and criminal mischief.

Elston was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to misdemeanor theft and first-degree criminal trespassing, a Class 5 felony.

The felony carries a deferred judgment, meaning the charge will be dismissed if Elston abides by the conditions of his probation during the next three years.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email


Jason Miller 4 years, 4 months ago

Slap on the wrist. OK promise me you will be a good boy and not do it again.


christopher dreher 4 years, 4 months ago

huh....didnt know pleading guilty to a felony as an adult got you off....he must be a real nice kid....


Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

Probation and a deferred judgment??? So it all goes away if he doesn't get caught doing anything for 3 years?

Originally charged with:

■ Five counts of felony first-degree trespassing related to four cars and a semitrailer that were broken into.

■ Four counts of misdemeanor theft related to items taken from four cars.

■ Two counts of felony criminal mischief related to damage that was caused in excess of $1,000.

■ One count of felony second-degree burglary related to the cabin that was broken into.

■ One count of misdemeanor fourth-degree arson.

“They just had a big bonfire at a time when we have a critical burn ban,” Birch said. “We’re taking that very seriously.”

Well, in the end, no big deal for the DA.

Good thing for Zane that he didn't construct a road to a proposed well pad - now that would have been unforgivable.


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