Vail wants Big Brother’s help to catch burglar
VAIL, Colorado – Vail’s police want to use the town’s six surveillance cameras to catch a crook.
Police are chasing a man they believe is responsible for a string of early morning Vail Village burglaries over the last few months. Police say the burglaries have cost local businesses thousands of dollars in damage and cash.
Now they’re asking the Vail Town Council to let them record what those six surveillance cameras see. Police Chief Dwight Henninger and the owners of some of those burglarized business owners will ask the Town Council tonight to let them start pushing the “record” button.
Some of the six cameras are at Checkpoint Charlie in Vail Village, and the rest are at the 911 dispatch center in Vail town hall. They’re there to help police and other authorities keep an eye on what delivery trucks are doing in Vail Village.
When the cameras were installed in July 2009, the Town Council established its no-recording policy after some limited but heated public input.
The Town Council refused to let police record any images.
“The cameras were only for viewing loading and unloading, and would only be viewed in real time and from those viewing stations,” said Suzanne Silverthorn, Vail’s communications director. “Since that time the council has been approached by members of the business community asking them to revisit those policies.”
One business owner whose store was robbed told the council he was surprised to learn that the cameras were not being used for recording, Silverthorn said.
Police are hoping the string of burglaries will change the council’s perspective, and they’ll see the surveillance cameras as a law enforcement tool. Recording images won’t cost them anything, police say.
Henninger is recommending seven-day camera recording. He says the tool would help identify and apprehend suspects and would be used as evidence in legal proceedings.
The burglaries date back as early as July 1, and police say the same man may have been responsible for all of them.
Police are looking for a man described as 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 1 inch and weighing between 150 to 180 pounds. Vail Police Detective Sgt. Chris Botkins says police are pursuing information pointing them toward a long-time local.
A Dec. 13 a video surveillance camera at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards captured images of a man who both the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and the Vail Police Department believe to be the same man suspected in the Vail burglaries.
The man in the Colorado Mountain College video was wearing dark-colored clothing and a ski mask. He also carried a backpack and some kind of pry tool in his hand.
The man was also caught on video surveillance at the Red Lion in Vail Village.
The Town Council will also hear for the second time a request to allow a sandwich board advertising public parking in private buildings, such as Solaris, Arrabelle at Vail Square and Manor Vail. It’s been up once before and died on a 3-3 vote.
It needs five votes to pass.