Boot prints in snow lead to 2 Steamboat arrests |

Boot prints in snow lead to 2 Steamboat arrests

Local men charged with damaging tow trucks and city ATV

Zach Fridell

— Police arrested two Steamboat Springs men on suspicion of stealing an ATV and smashing windows on tow trucks after officers tracked the boot prints the men left behind in fresh snow Tuesday morning.

Steamboat Springs Police De­­partment Detective Jerry Stabile said Michael Allen Jones, 20, and Justin Dean Denton, 19, admitted to stealing a city-owned ATV and damaging several tow trucks early Tuesday morning.

Stabile said the men were on Howelsen Hill about midnight watching snowmakers use an ATV equipped with snow tracks. When the workers left the machine to work on a piece of equipment, Jones and Denton reportedly took it and ended up near the 13th Street Bridge.

The ATV became stuck on the railroad tracks near the bridge, Stabile said. He said the tracks were damaged when the suspects tried to move the ATV.

Stabile said the men then left on foot and walked west on 13th Street, where they came across several American Towing trucks in a parking lot. They reportedly smashed several windows and sprayed a fire extinguisher into the cab of another truck.

Officers initially were called to the ATV about midnight and recovered the vehicle, along with several boot prints. They followed the boot prints to a house in the neighborhood, where they found the men. The suspects "eventually coughed it up," Stabile said, and officers seized a pair of boots as evidence.

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When officers were called to the American Towing lot later in the morning, they realized the "distinctive boot prints" were the same, Stabile said. He said that when detectives confronted the men with the comparisons, they confessed to the second crime, as well.

Stabile said the men admitted to drinking a bit before the crime spree and that one of the men was upset with American Towing for towing a relative's car.

Both men were arrested on aggravated motor vehicle theft, theft and being an accessory to a crime. Denton also was charged with obstructing a peace officer. The men remained in custody at Routt County Jail as of noon Wednesday.

Stabile said the value of the damage to the ATV and trucks is not yet known, but he expects it to be in the felony range of $1,000 to $20,000.

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