A cash reward offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of suspects involved in a rash of March burglaries has been increased.
The reward, originally set at $500 and offered jointly from the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office and Pagosa Springs Police Department, has been increased to $1,000, said PSPD Det. Scott Maxwell.
In March, a rash of six commercial and residential burglaries occurred, four of which authorities believe may be related, and the ACSO and PSPD instituted the reward in attempts to catch the burglars.
The increase is on the heels of the recovery of a cash register stolen in the spree.
In the early morning of April 13, ACSO Deputy Robin Lucero received a call from an Archuleta County Road and Bridge employee reporting the site of a cash register in Mill Creek, which authorities then recovered, Maxwell said.
The cash register was recovered about two miles up Mill Creek Road in Mill Creek, approximately 20 yards downstream from a bridge, Maxwell said.
The cash register was subsequently identified by an employee of Wolf Creek Anglers as the one stolen in March, Maxwell said.
The drawer to the register was found on a nearby creek bank.
“The investigation is active and we’re continuing to work on it,” Maxwell said.
The first of the potentially related burglaries took place March 18.
Pagosa Springs officer Tony Kop took a report from a tourist who noticed a broken window on the Wolf Creek Anglers building on East Pagosa Street near the River Center.
An investigation indicated that a burglary had taken place, with a large amount of merchandise and some cash taken, Maxwell said. Estimates indicate over $20,000 in cash and merchandise was taken.
Among the items taken were about a dozen Sage fly rods, sunglasses, several Ross fly reels and the cash register, Maxwell said.
The second of the burglaries is believed to have taken place the same night, Maxwell said, adding there was reason to believe the two were connected.
On March 25, three boys reported seeing a window broken on the San Juan Historical Society Museum building on First Street and U.S. 160, Maxwell reported. The building was closed for the season at the time of the burglary.
An investigation revealed that a swamp cooler had been removed from a window that was the apparent point of entry.
Two antique branding irons were found on the ground outside the window and several items and some cash were taken from the building.
Additionally, the perpetrators discharged a fire extinguisher throughout the building. Change taken from the cash register was strewn throughout the building and property.
Items taken from the museum include a 68-pound hand polished anvil made by Worthe Crouse, an Eastern Star 39-year pendant on a chain, a straight razor, Confederate money and a Spanish dagger.
The last of the in-town businesses burglarized during the spree was The Outfitter on Put Hill.
At approximately 7:50 a.m. on March 23, the PSPD received a report from a passerby who noticed the front window of the store busted out.
Several items were taken and there was damaged property, Maxwell reported.
Among the items taken were digital cameras, numerous custom-made knives, numerous models of Smith sunglasses, Smith goggles, some custom-made jewelry, numerous Leatherman tools, some pocket knives, knife sharpeners, Carhartt clothing, camouflage backpacks and a longboard skateboard deck.
Maxwell said the PSPD believes the three commercial burglaries are also related to a residential burglary on the same night.
“We know that when the suspects left, they were in a vehicle and that they went to Pagosa Hills (the neighborhood behind The Outfitter on Pike Drive),” Maxwell said in March, adding he believes the suspects drove through Pagosa Hills and possibly through the trailer park on Bienvenido Circle, near Cemetery Road at about 2:30 a.m.
Det. Rich Valdez, with the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, reported that a residential burglary occurred on Hackamore Place in Pagosa Lakes on or around March 23 and that items located at the scene of one of the commercial burglaries were related to the residential burglary.
Valdez said he believes the burglary took place late at night due to the lack of neighbors witnessing anything suspicious, but no specific time for the incident was determined at the time.
The homeowners, part-time residents, were not in Pagosa Springs at the time of the burglary and specific items taken were not immediately determined, though Valdez said ski equipment and electronics were possibly among those items.
Two other burglaries recently occurred in Archuleta County near Arboles.
Late on March 27 or early on March 28, a building located next to a gravel pit on County Road 975 was broken into with some miscellaneous equipment taken, Valdez said.
Forced entry was apparent, with doors pried open, Valdez said.
The last of the recent burglaries took place on Colo. 151 at the home of a part-time resident.
Perpetrators cut the front gate, drained a diesel tank, forced entry into and ransacked the house, though Valdez said the homeowners, who were not home at the time, were unsure of items taken. Several outbuildings on the property were also burglarized.
Anyone with information on the burglaries in Pagosa Springs is asked to call Maxwell at 264-4151, Ext. 241.
Anyone with information on the burglaries outside town limits is asked to call Valdez at 264-8443.