Thursday, August 4, 2005
Beware residents of Steamboat Springs: thieves are branching out from taking the traditional bicycle and snowboard, instead opting for finer items such as sushi, duct-taped wallets and wooden fence pickets.
Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said there have been 834 reported thefts in the past year, and the most common items taken include gas, cash, debit cards, cell phones and bikes.
The number of thefts reported in the past year is not significantly higher than in the previous years, but it is a reminder that theft is prevalent in the community.
"Theft does happen here, but that doesn't mean we have a community full of thieves," he said.
Rae said most thefts in the city occur because people give thieves a perfect opportunity to steal. Rae said about 90 percent of thefts occur when cars and homes are left unlocked or items, such as bikes and snowboards, are left unattended.
"People can protect themselves by not giving thieves an opportunity to steal anything," he said. Even though there is a Steam-boat-is-too-safe-to-lock-my-door mentality here, Rae said no community is so safe that you should leave your car or home unlocked.
In 2004, about $433,000 worth of items were reported stolen, and only about $195,000 was recovered.
Rae said that cars are things most likely to be found, and items such as TVs and radios almost never are found.
In addition to the bicycles, sushi, cell phones and mink scarves that have been reported stolen, Rae said thieves also look to steal people's identities.
"Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States, and people will look for anything that will get them access to your name, bank account numbers and other personal information," he said.
Rae said people should be aware of how costly identity theft can be, especially because it can take years and thousands of dollars to fix an identity theft after it is discovered."A bike can be replaced, but your identity can't be," he said.
Rae said people can protect themselves by locking their cars and homes and securing personal information such as credit card statements, bills and bank statements.
Rae also said people should keep the serial numbers on electronics items and sporting equipment to help identify the item if is found or is turned in to a pawn shop.
"Theft will continue to happen, and it is up to the citizens of Steamboat to prevent it," he said.