Alleged Gypsum crime spree lands teen in jail |

Alleged Gypsum crime spree lands teen in jail

Shayne Lee Cowden
Special to the Daily |

GYPSUM — Let this be a lesson to you: Making your getaway on foot through the snow makes your trail easy for police officers to follow.

Shayne Lee Cowden, 19, learned that lesson the hard way. Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies followed his tracks in the snow and arrested him after he allegedly stole two vehicles and broke into several others.

Deputies say Cowden told them he was cruising and driving like the “Grand Theft Auto” video game.

About 9:30 p.m. Monday, sheriff’s deputies were called because someone was driving through lawns in Gypsum’s Buckhorn Valley neighborhood, south of the Eagle County Regional Airport.

Deputies found the offending vehicle, which had been abandoned, and started following those footprints in the snow.

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About that time a report rolled in that a vehicle had been stolen in another part of town. The deputies also saw that several vehicles and one home in that neighborhood had been broken into and robbed.

Knocking Over Trash Cans

Just when you thought it was safe to leave your trash can at the curb, deputies received yet another call about a person “driving crazy” and knocking over trash cans in the main part of Gypsum.

Whoever was knocking over those trash cans was doing it in a stolen vehicle, while driving over lawns in that part of town, too, deputies said.

Cowden allegedly then ditched that stolen vehicle, broke into and robbed several other vehicles, and then stole yet another vehicle. He drove that vehicle a short distance and ditched it near Gypsum’s Lundgren Amphitheater and the Gypsum Rec Center.

He ran south on foot, but interrupted his southerly migration to break into several other vehicles while looking for another vehicle to steal, deputies said.

Alcohol Possible Factor

Deputies finally found him in a back yard on Gypsum’s Lost Lane, and took him into custody. They found several stolen items in the two stolen vehicles, which had been damaged the way one might expect when they’d been driven like they were in “Grand Theft Auto.”

Alcohol, deputies say, may have played a role in the alleged crime spree.

Cowden was initially being held on $2,500 bond. In his first court appearance, Eagle County Court Judge Katharine Sullivan raised that to $10,000. He finally bailed out on $7,500 bond.

Litany of Felonies

Cowden faces a litany of felonies, including:

• First-degree criminal trespass of a residence.

• Aggravated motor vehicle theft (two counts).

• First degree criminal trespass into a vehicle (four counts).

• Criminal attempt to commit theft (29 counts).

• Criminal mischief (damage to property).

• Driving under the influence of alcohol.

• Careless driving.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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