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Burglary spree continues around town and county

Area law enforcement is keeping busy.

Pagosa Springs Police Department officers woke up Wednesday morning to deal with at least four commercial burglaries and two vehicles break-ins, while Archuleta County law enforcement officers responded to two commercial burglaries over the weekend.

The burglaries are thought to be part of an ongoing series of similar crimes in the area.

Sometime late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, burglars apparently threw rocks to break windows at Wolf Creek Anglers (the third burglary on the business in roughly three months), at The Lift, located on East Pagosa Street near the River Center, and at the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center, located on South Eighth Street.

Appraisal Services, Inc., located in the 300 block of Lewis Street, was also burglarized with entry achieved through a window that was left open.

Although the investigations are continuing, it appeared that only cash had been taken from Wolf Creek Anglers; cash, food and miscellaneous items were taken from The Lift; and a small amount of cash from a recent fund-raiser was taken from the Pregnancy Center, said Det. Scott Maxwell of the PSPD. Nothing was taken from the appraisal and accounting office.

Lisa Locke, executive director of the Pregnancy Center, said she was contacted by the business’ alarm company at about 3:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Locke added that only one office was broken into in the building.

“It was almost like they knew which window to break,” she said.

Additionally, two vehicles were broken into — one behind Wolf Creek Anglers, from which an iPod was taken, and one unlocked vehicle on South Sixth Street, from which a wallet was taken, Maxwell said.

Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department staff responded to two other commercial burglaries that appeared to have occurred Friday night or Saturday morning.

The Buck Stops Here, located west of town along U.S. 160 was burglarized, also via a broken window, with change and a whitetail deer shoulder mount (with six points, four on one side and two on the other) taken, said Det. Rich Valdez of the ACSO.

The Pagosa Veterinary Clinic was burglarized the same evening via a broken window in a back door, with cash from a cash box taken, Valdez said.

Law enforcement officials believe the recent incidents are connected to a rash of burglaries dating back to March.

“We’re considering this a series of burglaries,” Maxwell said, adding a bit of appropriate advice — “Don’t leave cash in businesses.”

The series of burglaries began around March 18, with the first burglary of Wolf Creek Anglers.

In that burglary over $20,000 in cash and merchandise was taken. Among the items taken during the March burglary were about a dozen Sage fly rods, sunglasses, several Ross fly reels and the cash register.

Following the March burglary, a cash register identified as belonging to Wolf Creek Anglers was recovered in Mill Creek on April 13.

Wolf Creek Anglers was burglarized again the night of June 9, with an undisclosed amount of cash taken.

The March 18 burglary was one of six commercial and residential burglaries that occurred in the town and county during the month, four of which authorities believe may be related.

The second of the March burglaries is believed to have taken place on March 18, also. Maxwell said 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, Maxwell reported previously. The building was closed for the season at the time of the burglary.

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.

The last of the in-town businesses burglarized during the March spree was The Outfitter 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 lot 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 in March, 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.

Valdez 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 commercial burglaries 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 no specific time for the incident was determined at the time.

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

Two other burglaries recently occurred in Archuleta County near Arboles.

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

Forced entry was apparent in the form of doors pried open, Valdez said.

The last of the March rash of burglaries took place on Colo. 151 at the home of a part-time resident.

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, Valdez said. Several outbuildings on the property were also burglarized.

Anyone who may have wtnesed suspicious activity around the time of any of the burglaries or has information is urged to contact law enforcement and may remain anonymous.

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 of town limits is asked to call Det. Rich Valdez of the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office at 264-8443.

The PSPD and ACSO are jointly offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the burglar or burglars.

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