Officials investigate stolen truck, multiple break-ins
A sudden rash of vehicle thefts and break-ins has county investigators searching for clues as they gather details on what appears to be a series of connected property crimes that occurred in the Fraser Valley over a single night last week.
County officials are still in the thick of investigations related to the crimes but the tentative hypothesis is the crimes are related. The incident was initially brought to the attention of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) early Tuesday morning Aug. 16 when the Thornton Police Dept. contacted the GCSO about a 1999 Ford F-350 pickup truck registered in Grand County that was involved in a traffic accident early that morning at approximately 5:20 a.m.
Thornton authorities found the truck’s ignition had been punched out, a typical tactic employed by car thieves, and contacted the GCSO. As GCSO Deputies headed to the vehicle’s registered address the owner of the pickup called the GCSO to report his truck had been stolen overnight. The truck was stolen from the Meadow Ridge area, on County Road 838, west of US Highway 40 in Fraser.
Shortly thereafter the Fraser/Winter Park Police Department received calls about a vehicle in the Winter Park area that had been broken in to during the previous night. Officials were looking into the possibility of a connection between the vehicle in Winter Park and the stolen truck in Thornton when they received a report that several additional vehicles, stored at Miller Storage in Tabernash, had been broken in to overnight.
At Miller Storage authorities found three more pickup trucks had been broken in to. The ignition in two of the vehicles had been punched. Investigators also found someone had broken in to three campers at the storage facility. Additionally a van was stolen from the premises but was crashed into a nearby ditch and was abandoned when authorities arrived. The van had been hotwired and was still running when Deputies discovered it.
Vehicle thefts in Grand County are rare, according to GCSO Public Information Officer Lt. Dan Mayer, as are vehicle break-ins. The comparative nature of the multiple crimes and the short timeframe in which they occurred has prompted local investigators to surmise the incidents are related. The investigation is ongoing at this time.