Police officer goes under covers

— A Steamboat Springs police officer went undercover -- and covered up -- to nab a suspected thief in the Steamboat Springs High School parking lot Tuesday morning.

Police Capt. Joel Rae said a 17-year-old high school student was arrested on suspicion of felony first-degree trespassing and theft after an officer who was hiding under a blanket in the car's back seat grabbed the teen when he broke into the car.

Rae said officers found out about the thefts several months ago when a high school student reported someone breaking into her car and stealing her iPod. Since the initial theft, the student told officers someone had been breaking into her car once or twice a week for several months.

The girl told police she suspected the thief had stolen a key to her car, Rae said.

After investigating the girl's claims, officers set up a sting that resulted in Tuesday's arrest.

"He was quite in shock when the officer jumped out from that blanket," Rae said.

Rae said the suspect, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, stole the girl's iPod, miscellaneous items from her car and cash.

After the teen was caught, he admitted to the thefts and to a separate incident that occurred in June, Rae said. In that incident, the boy saidhe stole about $200 from a woman's locker room bag, Rae said.

The suspect was compliant with officers during the arrest Tuesday, even opening the back door of the girl's car to let the officer out, Rae said.

The District Attorney's Office will decide what charges, if any, to file against the teen.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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