People urged to secure cars, homes amid string of vehicle thefts in Hayden
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Amid a recent rise in vehicle break-ins and auto thefts in Hayden, authorities are encouraging residents to lock their cars and secure their valuables.
“We have been dealing with a bunch of (incidents) over the past 2 1/2 weeks,” said Hayden Police Chief Greg Tuliszewski.
During that time, his agency has received nine reports of people breaking into vehicles, all of which were unlocked at the time. Of those, four vehicles were stolen, but eventually returned — “except for one, which broke down,” Tuliszewski said.
In those cases, the keys had been left in the ignition.
So far, authorities have made no arrests in relation to the break-ins and thefts, according to Tuliszewski. Investigations are ongoing.
The crimes have occurred between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and according to Tuliszewski, small amounts of cash have been stolen from some of the vehicles.
It appears the two most recent incidents occurred early Tuesday morning.
At 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies assisted Hayden officers in investigating a report of a burglary in the 100 block of North Walnut Street in the downtown area. A resident said he saw two “kids” trying to break into his vehicle, according to Undersheriff Doug Scherar. Authorities were unable to locate any suspects.
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At 6 a.m. Tuesday, authorities received a report of a stolen vehicle from the 100 block of North Chestnut Street, just a block away from the previous incident. According to Tuliszewski, the car was eventually returned.
Initially, the crimes were restricted to the old downtown area, according to Tuliszewski, but that is no longer the case.
“It started in one neighborhood. The next time it was a few blocks further, and the next time it was a few blocks further than that,” he said.
In such a small community, Tuliszewski acknowledged that many people feel safe leaving their cars and homes unlocked. Some degree of caution, he emphasized, is always necessary.
“Even though we are small, we still have people who do not follow the rules of law,” he said.
He advised people to lock the doors to their homes and vehicles and to never leave the keys in the ignition if the vehicle is unattended.
“That is pretty much something you need to do anywhere,” he said.
Tuliszewski also requested anyone with information regarding these crimes to contact the Hayden Police Department at 970-276-2535 or Routt County Crime Stoppers.
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