Standoff ends peacefully; three suspects arrested |

Standoff ends peacefully; three suspects arrested

Teenage carjacking subjects arrested near Yampa

Routt County Sheriff's Office deputies investigate a stolen car found on Routt County Road 7.
Matt Stensland

— A standoff with police near Yampa involving three juveniles wanted for a carjacking in Aurora ended peacefully Friday morning.

“That we end these serious cases without anybody getting hurt is a huge success,” Routt County Undersheriff Ray Birch said.

On Thursday, local police were advised to be on the lookout for a Chevy Equinox that had been stolen earlier that day in Aurora. Police there had tracked one of the suspect’s cell phones to an area around Oak Creek. They lost track of the phone later in the day.

A firearm had reportedly been used in the carjacking, and the suspects were considered armed and dangerous.

About 8:30 a.m. Friday morning, a Yampa resident who had not heard about the stolen car reported seeing three suspicious male teenagers walking along Routt County Road 7, which leads to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

“They looked real suspicious, and (the resident) just called it in,” Sheriff Garrett Wiggins said.

Sheriff’s Office Lt. Doug Scherar said the description of the teenagers matched the description of the carjacking suspects, and he decided to call in all available resources. Police and firefighters from multiple agencies and fire departments came to help.

South Routt Elementary School was put on lock out, and officers guarded the front of the school. Area residents received an emergency notification system call informing them of a heightened police presence and asking them to report anything suspicious.

Investigators discovered the stolen car stuck on a section of C.R. 7 that goes through U.S. Forest Service property and is not plowed during the winter.

It appeared the car had earlier been in a wreck. The windows were smashed, and belongings from the car were spread across the road and into the woods. A rifle was found inside.

Inside a nearby shack, police discovered a second rifle, a hookah, some food and a pile of empty cigarette packages. The fabric roof had been torn, and pieces of the fabric had been placed on the car’s broken windows.

A few miles down the road, investigators found footprints leading down a driveway toward Clyncke’s Bear River Ranch. Based on conversations with a neighbor, investigators knew no one should be inside.

At one point, a deputy heard a gunshot and saw several individuals walking to the house.

“We had pretty good information that someone was there, and no one was supposed to be there,” Scherar said.

Police used a bullhorn to make contact with the suspects and were able to get the telephone number for the home phone.

A suspect eventually answered the phone, and Sgt. Ryan Adrian, who is trained as a negotiator, convinced the suspects to come out with their hands up.

Arrested were two 15-year-olds and one 16-year-old. The Sheriff’s Office would not release their names, because they are juveniles.

Officials did not know where they lived or what they were doing in Routt County.

The Sheriff’s Office had not interviewed the suspects as of early Friday afternoon. In Routt County, they face charges of burglary and criminal mischief related to the home that was broken into.

Aurora Police Department spokeswoman Crystal McCoy said they do not know why the teens were in Routt County.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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