Authorities are investigating a break-in at The Lakeview General Store during which the building was tagged with what looks like gang signs.
The break-in occurred around 5 a.m. on April 1, but Lakeview manager Ted Fasso thinks the incident too extreme to be a mere April Fools' joke.
An April Fools' prank "was the first thing I thought of when I looked at it," he said.
Perpetrators threw an outdoor trash can through a front window of the store and broke two doors to get in. Inside, they stole the till for the next day from two registers, but didn't take anything else, according to Fasso.
Lakeview General and Lakeview Liquor stores share building space, separated by a common clerk's station. The burglars left everything from liquor to Colorado lottery tickets, gift merchandise and more.
"It's the weirdest break-in I've ever had," Fasso said. "Usually when you're broken into, liquor, tobacco, knives and scratch tickets leave."
A commercial ice chest outside of the store was damaged, Fasso said, and perpetrators allegedly painted graffiti on the side of the building in three different places.
A crown with "MS 13" written below is tagged in two of the places, the third place without the crown.
Leo Piechocki with the Grand County Sheriff's office is leading the investigation. "As far as the tagging goes, no one can say for sure whether a gang member put it up or someone who was being cute put it up," Piechocki said. "There are inconsistencies as far as I can tell."
It's unclear whether the graffiti signs are from the Mara Salvatrucha criminal gang, which one entry of the online Urban Dictionary calls "the most brutal gang in America" of Los Angeles.
But the alleged gang signs may look suspect. "I'm not sure about that," Fosso said. "I don't think they were quite right."
One coat of paint was quickly applied to the gang signs on Monday after they were discovered.
So far the sheriff's investigation has led to discriptions of cars present in the area at around the time of the incident, according to Piechocki.
Over a 23-year period, Monday's incident was the third time the Lakeview building had been burglarized, Fasso said.
"Usually there are not too many problems," he said.
Fasso has since taken steps to make the building more secure, he said.
The Lakeview General and Lakeview Liquor store is located on Highway 34 at the entrance to Grand Lake.