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Police seek suspects in burglaries

A rash of burglaries has left town and county law enforcement on the lookout for suspects and several residents and business owners with lost items and damaged property.

Authorities believe four of the six recent burglaries may be related.

A seventh reported burglary is likely only a civil matter, said Det. Scott Maxwell of the Pagosa Springs Police Department.

The first of the potentially related burglaries took place March 18.

Pagosa Springs officer Tony Kop took a report from a tourist who noticed a broken window on the Wolf Creek Anglers building on East Pagosa Street near the River Center, Maxwell said.

An investigation indicated that a burglary had taken place, with a large amount of merchandise and some cash taken. Among the items taken were about a dozen Sage fly rods, sunglasses, several Ross fly reels and the cash register.

The second of the burglaries is believed to have taken place the same night, Maxwell said, adding there was reason to believe the two were connected.

On March 25, three boys reported seeing a window broken on the San Juan Historical Society Museum building on First Street and U.S. 160. The building was closed for the season at the time of the burglary.

An investigation revealed that a swamp cooler had been removed from a window that was the apparent point of entry, Maxwell said.

Two antique branding irons were found on the ground outside the window and several items and some cash were taken from the building.

Additionally, the perpetrators discharged a fire extinguisher throughout the building. Change taken from the cash register was strewn throughout the building and property.

Items taken from the museum include a 68-pound hand-polished anvil made by Worthe Crouse, an Eastern Star 39-year pendant on a chain, a straight razor, Confederate money and a Spanish dagger, though a review of the museum’s inventory is still underway.

The last of the in-town businesses burglarized was The Outfitter, located on Put Hill.

At approximately 7:50 a.m. on March 23, the PSPD received a report from a passerby who noticed the front window of the store busted out.

Several items were taken and there was a considerable amount of damaged property, Maxwell reported.

Among the items taken were digital cameras, numerous custom-made knives, numerous models of Smith sunglasses, Smith goggles, some custom-made jewelry, numerous Leatherman tools, some pocket knives, knife sharpeners, Carhartt clothing, camouflage backpacks and a longboard skateboard deck.

Maxwell said the PSPD believes the three commercial burglaries are also related to a residential burglary on the same night.

“We know that when the suspects left they were in a vehicle and that they went to Pagosa Hills (the neighborhood behind The Outfitter on Pike Drive),” Maxwell said, adding he believes the suspects drove through Pagosa Hills and possibly through the trailer park on Bienvenido Circle, near Cemetery Road, at about 2:30 a.m.

Anyone with who saw a suspicious vehicle in the area around the time of the incident is asked to contact Maxwell.

Det. Rich Valdez with the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office reported that a residential burglary occurred on Hackamore Place in Pagosa Lakes on or around March 23 and that items located at the scene of one of the PSPD’s commercial burglaries were related to the residential burglary.

Valdez said he believes the burglary took place late at night due to the lack of neighbors witnessing anything suspicious, but said no specific time for the incident had been determined.

The homeowners, part-time residents, were not in Pagosa Springs at the time of the burglary and specific items taken have not been determined, though Valdez said ski equipment and electronics were among the items possibly removed from the residence.

Two other burglaries recently occurred in Archuleta County near Arboles.

Late on March 27 or early on March 28 a building at a gravel pit located on County Road 975 was broken into with some miscellaneous equipment taken, Valdez said.

Forced entry was apparent, with doors pried open, Valdez said.

The last of the recent rash of burglaries took place on Colo. 151 at the home of a part-time resident, Valdez said.

Perpetrators cut the front gate, drained a diesel tank, forced entry into and ransacked the house, though Valdez said the homeowners, who were not home at the time, were unsure of items taken. Several outbuildings on the property were also burglarized.

“All of our options are open,” Valdez said of the search for suspects, adding that the office was looking into the crimes with an open mind.

The ACSO is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects in the burglaries. PSPD Chief Bill Rockensock said Wednesday morning the PSPD is considering offering a cash reward, also.

Anyone with information on the burglaries in Pagosa Springs is asked to call Maxwell at 264-4151, Ext. 241.

Anyone with information on the burglaries outside town limits is asked to call Valdez at 264-8443.

In addition to the burglaries, Maxwell noted that crimes are on the rise in the area.

“I think we’re seeing a rise in shoplifting, burglaries, property crimes,” Maxwell said, adding that more of the shoplifting entailed nonessential items than food and other essential items.

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