OURAY – The Ouray Police Department has a suspect in a burglary case that has been under investigation over the past two weeks, and hopes to file charges in the near future, according to Police Chief Justin Perry.
The suspect, whose identity has not yet been released, is believed to have stolen between $3,000 and $3,500 from a cash drawer within an office area at the Victorian Inn, during the early morning hours of Aug. 13.
There was no evidence of a forced entry at the scene of the crime.
“The motel’s video surveillance system was operating and available to us, which we have collected and will be utilizing as evidence,” Perry said. “It is very clear. And we were able to obtain excellent information from the images of the video.”
The video also provided key locations where the suspect had touched various surfaces, which provided the investigating officers with the ability to collect fingerprint evidence at the scene. These fingerprints have been sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for analysis.
As the case is an ongoing active investigation, there is little additional information pertaining to the actual crime, or evidence collected on the scene, which the OPD can release at this time, Perry said.
Over the past two days, the OPD has conducted interviews with multiple people. “We have a suspect that is our main lead we are following up on,” Perry said. “We are hoping that charges will be forthcoming in the near future.”
Perry does not believe that the incident at the Victorian Inn is related to another, less serious crime at the Wild Fork Cafe at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool that occurred on Aug. 14, in which a perpetrator broke in through a window and stole “soda pop and candy bars.”
“I believe this particular burglary was specific to this business,” Perry said of the Victorian Inn incident. “Having said that, I do think that business owners in Ouray have to be very cautious with their investment and properties and follow basic principals of protection and prevention – locking doors, keeping lights on, not maintaining money on site and having a sign that says that, situational awareness – being aware of surroundings and suspicious persons – and alerting law enforcement to that.”
In other words, they should pay attention to “The basics.”
These basics will be covered at an upcoming informative class on the prevention of burglary, theft and robbery that is scheduled to take place on Sept. 24, 7 p.m. at the Ouray Community Center, as part of the Ouray Police Department’s new Community Policing Program.
Additional meetings are scheduled for Sept. 17 and Sept. 25 on the topics of traffic safety and neighborhoods, respectively.
The goal of these meetings will be for community members in each stakeholder group “to identify current community issues and develop strategies to solve those problems,” Perry said. “With this being the beginning stage of the Community Policing program, we are in the identification process, and will be building strategies after we prioritize which issues are most important for our community.”
OHV Accident on Oak Street
The Ouray Police Department has also responded to a number of Off-Highway Vehicle incidents in Ouray in recent weeks, including an accident on Sunday, Aug. 24.
The accident involved a local 23-year-old male, who was operating a side-by-side OHV on the 500 block of Oak Street, with a 24-year-old female passenger. In the accident report, the driver described how he had been driving carelessly, which resulted in the OHV turning over onto its side and sliding for quite some distance. The passenger sustained fairly serious injuries and was subsequently transported to the hospital.
The driver of the OHV was cited for careless driving resulting in injury, and operating an OHV in a prohibited area.
The City of Ouray’s code has always banned OHVs from operating on its streets, but until this summer, the code was never strictly enforced.
“The issue is that there has been a culture where it has been accepted in the past,” Perry said. The department’s strategy has been to inform these individuals first that there is a citywide ordinance prohibiting their use. Any subsequent violations result in a citation, Perry said.
“A lot of the visitors we have contacted have been coming here for many years with OHVs and utilizing roads in town as well as on the state highway,” Perry observed. “They have been told in the past that it was acceptable to do so. The Police Department really wants to remind visitors and locals that there is an OHV ordinance in town. It is prohibited to use OHVs on our city streets. Even on county roads where they are allowed, operators should always use caution and drive them carefully.”
The Curious Incident of the Missing Tent and the Hungry Bear
What began as an investigation into the theft of an easy-up canopy from the Highgraders Holidays mining competition last weekend ended with Chief Perry discovering the site of a bear’s feeding spree at a campground on Oak Street.
After taking the initial report of the missing tent, Perry received a call from dispatch that the tent had been found by the event organizer at the 4-J campground. Through further investigation, Perry learned that the perpetrators had stolen the canopy because a bear had torn their tent apart the previous night, and they needed rain protection.
As he continued to investigate the scene, another couple camped in the area flagged Perry down and advised him that at 3:30 on the morning of Aug. 24, a bear came through the entire campground and went through almost every tent site, picking through food that had been left out, knocking coolers over, and molesting barbecue grills, and had taken choice tidbits back up into the forest to devour.
The couple “went out and tried to scare the bear by throwing rocks, and it was very difficult to get this bear to leave,” Perry said. “It just goes to show that these bears are becoming accustomed to scoring food from human sources. It’s a reminder to make sure folks are taking care of trash appropriately, and storing food in secure places. That’s why the bears are here – not because they love us but because they love our food.”
The OPD has notified Colorado Parks and Wildlife of the incident, and is conducting additional patrols of the area.
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