Craig couple arrested on suspicion of stealing expensive mountain bikes from Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Craig couple arrested on suspicion of stealing expensive mountain bikes from Steamboat

An anonymous tip helped police find and arrest a Craig couple suspected of stealing a pair of bicycles worth $5,700 from a Steamboat Springs store last month.

According to arrest affidavits filed in Routt County Court, Leslie "Dale" Billings and Kristine Marie Phillips were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of felony theft after police found the stolen mountain bikes spray-painted different colors at their home.

The bicycles were recovered and are being held as evidence.

A tipster called Routt County Crime Stoppers hotline Tuesday saying they had overheard Billings and Phillips talking about how they stole two bicycles in Steamboat that were worth $6,000.

The tipster described Billings, 37, and Phillips, 34, as a married couple.

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Investigators in Steamboat, who had put out surveillance photos of the thieves to the public this week, called the Craig Police Department and learned officers there had contacted the couple the day before during a traffic stop.

Craig police sergeant Tony Fandel said Billings was arrested during that traffic stop on suspicion of illegal drug possession, and the vehicle he and Phillips were driving was impounded, along with a pair of spray-painted bikes in the back. Police impounded the bikes because the couple could not provide proof they owned them.

The officer thought it was suspicious the bikes had been painted to cover up the model names and serial numbers.

Phillips later provided Craig police a receipt for the bikes that claimed they were purchased from a thrift store in California, according to the arrest affidavit.

The bikes were then returned to Phillips, because police in Craig had not yet learned about any stolen bikes in Steamboat.

That changed Wednesday.

A Craig police officer who saw the surveillance photos that were released from the bike theft in Steamboat recognized Billings and Phillips and believed they were the thieves.

The officer also was sure the bicycles he saw during the traffic stop were the brand that were stolen from Ski Haus.

Phillips and Billings were taken into custody and transported to the Routt County Jail on Thursday afternoon.

Fandel said the couple also faces separate charges from the Craig Police Department for allegedly providing false information about the bikes during the traffic stop earlier this week.

The anonymous tipster who provided information that helped police arrest the couple will receive a $500 reward.

Steamboat Police Commander Annette Dopplick said cooperation between the Craig and Steamboat police forces was key to solving the case.

“What a benefit it is to have good relationships with our neighboring agencies,” she said.

Police were also thankful for the anonymous tip.

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