Steamboat man arrested after police find stolen ATM in creek bed
Steamboat Springs — A 25-year-old Steamboat Springs man faces a slew of felony theft charges after officers who were searching for a stolen mountain bike instead found a stolen ATM in a creek bed in rural Routt County.
The ATM was reported stolen last month from the Steamboat Ski Area and contained an estimated $4,480 when it was taken.
Officers believe Christopher Wade Dunkin stole a woman’s Chevrolet Tahoe on Saturday morning while she was out of town and used it to take the ATM to the creek bed off of Routt County Road 24.
According to Dunkin’s arrest affidavit filed in Routt County Court, Dunkin’s troubles began when he got the Tahoe stuck in the creek bed and called a taxi driver he rode with earlier in the morning to help him tow the Tahoe out around 5 a.m.
Dunkin told the taxi driver he was “stargazing” and accidentally drove the Tahoe into a ravine when he was trying to turn around, according to the affidavit.
The taxi driver said he couldn’t tow the Tahoe and instead gave Dunkin a ride home.
Later in the day, an officer’s interview with the taxi driver would lead police and Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies to the creek bed, the ATM and the home where the taxi driver said he saw Dunkin take the Tahoe from earlier in the morning.
Before talking to the taxi driver, police were looking into whether Dunkin stole a mountain bike and tried to sell it on eBay.
Police obtained a search warrant for Dunkin’s phone records and learned he had called the taxi driver multiple times on Saturday. Officers interviewed the taxi driver looking for leads on the stolen bike.
They went to the creek bed hoping to find the bike and instead found the ATM about 20 yards from the road with tire tracks leading up to it.
According to the affidavit, the taxi driver said before he was called to give Dunkin a ride home from the creek bed, he gave Dunkin a ride to another residence early Saturday morning and observed him use a hidden key to enter the home.
The driver said Dunkin then left the home in a Chevrolet Tahoe.
Police later learned the Tahoe did not belong to Dunkin, and the owner of the vehicle was out of town. The caretaker of the residence knew Dunkin and said he had previously worked at the property.
An investigator with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office found the Tahoe back in the garage of the home with a branch on the rear windshield wiper and mud and grass in the undercarriage.
Investigators found blue flakes of paint inside the Tahoe they believe came from the casing on the ATM.
Investigators also found bike tire tracks on the roof of the vehicle.
Officers arrested Dunkin on suspicion of theft, third-degree burglary, second-degree burglary and aggravated motor vehicle theft.
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