John ColsonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

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April 11, 2009
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Aspen's Thumbing Station sign nabbed by cops

ASPEN, Colorado The great Aspen Thumbing Station sign-theft caper has been solved.Well, if not solved, at least resolved.Well, if not completely resolved, at least the sign is no longer missing; it is sitting in the office of Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn, after spending months in an undisclosed attic somewhere in Aspen.Meanwhile, Officer Jeff Fain is trying to figure out who the victim here was, if anyone, and what to do with the sign.There will be no charges, Fain said, because he has no idea who took the sign, while those who have harbored it for months apparently did so unsuspectingly.For readers who may not recall, the old wooden sign, which was bolted to a steel post in the 200 block of East Main Street next to the former Cortina Lodge, disappeared in 2008.It had stood there for decades, after the city designated that particular place as a safe haven for hitchhikers, and an unknown local artist painted a sign to point it out.Last year, someone apparently decided it would make a nice memento and uprooted it.A series of articles in The Aspen Times detailed the saga of the sign, and local sign painter Gaard Moses offered to paint a new sign modeled on the old one if the city would install it, which was accomplished by early January.And now the old sign is in the hands of the police, who have been mum about the details of how that happened.According to Fain, the sign had been sitting in the attic of a house rented by an in-law of an unidentified police department employee. Fain said he could not identify any of the people involved, because they were not being accused of a crime and had not authorized release of their names.The sign was discovered recently while that in-law was packing to move out of the house. It turned out that the sign had been put in the attic last summer by the in-laws son. The son, it turns out, had put the sign in the attic after it had been brought to the house by a friend of his, who was staying at the house temporarily to attend the 2008 Food & Wine Classic.The friend, Fain said, had found the sign lying on the ground about a block west of the Cortina on Main Street, near the public bus stop at the corner of Garmisch and Main, and took it back to the house, where it stayed until dad discovered it and turned it in.Fain said he will continue to look into the matter, if only to determine who should take possession of the sign now.jcolson@aspentimes.com


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The VailDaily Updated Apr 11, 2009 10:40AM Published Apr 11, 2009 10:40AM Copyright 2009 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.