Burglar steals Eagle family’s vacation | VailDaily.com

Burglar steals Eagle family’s vacation

Kathy Heicher
Eagle Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyRosa Ceceres, shown here with her 5 children, says she's lived in Eagle most of her life and has never worried about burglary.

EAGLE, Colorado ” A single mother and her five children won’t be going on their annual family trip to El Paso, Texas, this year.

Rosa Ceceres’ family fell victim to a burglar last week, who entered their Eagle Villas apartment through a back window.

On the same day, police arrested Tomas Bandera, 23 of Aurora, whom they say had a $75 bracelet that was stolen from Ceceres’ home, along with hundreds of dollars worth of electronics stolen from a neighbor.

But Bandera denies taking the $4,000 in cash that Ceceres had set aside for her family’s vacation, police say.

“This lady was the victim of a really serious crime,” Eagle Police Chief Rodger McLaughlin says. “She had saved up the money for this trip ” and now she can’t go.”

Bandera is being held in the Eagle County jail on charges related to the Gypsum theft. McLaughlin said Eagle police will file additional charges this week.

Meanwhile, the Ceceres family is stunned by the situation they in which they have found themselves.

“I’ve lived here since I was 3 years old. I know nothing more than Eagle. We’re not used to this kind of crime,” says Ceceres, 32.

She said she normally would not have that kind of cash in her house. In preparation for her annual family trip to Texas to celebrate a nephew’s birthday she had cashed her income tax return on Friday.

Ceceres works at the Eagle County Airport, and her annual tax return is the only time each year that she has the cash to take her family to visit relatives. The bank was closed, so she stashed the cash in a drawer until she could get to the bank on Monday.

When her work shift ended on Monday, she returned home and found that somebody had broken into the apartment, and rifled through all the drawers. Her son’s bracelet and Game Boy were gone, as was the cash.

Ceceres says that’s not the Eagle she knows. She and her family are active in the community ” they help out with the fire department’s annual Christmas toy drive, help pack Thanksgiving food baskets, and her sons mow lawns for elderly people.

Since the burglary, she’s installed extra deadbolt locks on her house, and makes a point of locking the car doors. Her younger children are afraid to open the curtains.

And she doesn’t buy the suspect’s claim that they didn’t take the cash.

“I find it ridiculous that all they came in for was a gold bracelet, and a Game Boy that doesn’t work. How can they say that is all they took?” she says.

McLaughlin says Eagle is growing just enough that homeowners and car owners have to be more diligent about break-ins.

“It is a shame that people do feel like they have to lock their doors, and make sure they have to safeguard their properties,” he says.

Bandera, who has a criminal record of similar incidents, was looking for homes that were near Interstate 70, and offered a quick getaway, McLaughlin says.

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