Vail Daily letter: To catch a thief
Ryan Summerlin March 5, 2013
As a Vail resident, I never really hear about any serious crimes in the community. I had trust in the people around me. That was until a couple of weeks ago. It was a typical day out on the mountain, sunny, great snow, and good times with my friends. As usual, we went to grab lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. I placed my snowboard on the racks in front of the Eagle Bahn gondola. It was there for no more than 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, when I went to retrieve my snowboard, it was no longer there. Thinking it was one of my friends, I patiently waited for one them to confess to hiding my board. I started getting concerned after about 15 minutes.
My biggest mistake was I let another 30 minutes go by until I decided to contact our local authorities. As I was on the phone with the dispatcher, our chief of police, Dwight Henninger, arrived to the scene. He then informed me that he had three officers searching Lionshead village for my snowboard.
I had no luck that day and was ready to give up. A week had gone by and I decided to give Craigslist one last chance. I found a posting on there that matched what I was missing. I immediately reached out to this person and played the role of a potential customer. After obtaining the seller’s address, I had a friend go to the sellers house to confirm that it was indeed my snowboard. I got a call from my friend while I was at work and got the good news, the description matched, but the bad news that my bindings were missing. I took no chance and left in the middle of my shift to hopefully find my snowboard.
I drove to employee housing in Avon where the seller lived, knocked on the door, and got no response. He stopped replying to all of our emails. We lost contact.
I was about ready to let it go until I spoke with Officer Rafael Caballero. Within 24 hours, Officer Caballero had a search warrant issued and went to the seller’s house. The suspect had sold my snowboard already, but my bindings were found in his house. Officer Caballero got a confession and was able to track my snowboard down. It was reposted and up for resale on Craigslist.
He called the new seller and had him drop it off the the station. Thanks to Officer Caballero, I was able to pick up my snowboard and bindings that night!
My biggest mistake I made was not calling local authorities immediately. With their response time, I don’t believe the thief would have even made it out of Lionshead. I’m grateful to say that thanks to some awesome friends and the Vail Police Department, I now have my snowboard in my possession.
I hope that others can learn from this and know what to do if the situation is ever encountered.