Vandals ordered to pay more than $100K for damaging trailhead near Steamboat Springs |

Vandals ordered to pay more than $100K for damaging trailhead near Steamboat Springs

By Scott Franz | Steamboat Pilot
Routt County Sheriff's Office deputy Aaron Arsenault prepares to try to recover fingerprints from an overturned skid steer at the Ridge Trailhead on the west side of Emerald Mountain. Vandals hijacked three pieces of construction equipment and caused more than $100,000 worth of damage at the trailhead that was being improved.
Photo by Scott Franz

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Two men who vandalized the Ridge Trailhead on Emerald Mountain in 2015 have learned their crime really didn’t pay.

The Routt County District Court on Friday ordered Charles C. Enger and Michael A. Jones to pay $114,030.16 for the extensive damage they caused to the trailhead.

Enger commandeered several pieces of heavy construction equipment stationed at the trailhead and drove a dozer into a brand new, $40,000 bathroom facility. A skid steer was also overturned at the parking area.

Enger told investigators Jones showed him how to use the equipment.

Jones said he only watched as Enger wreaked havoc on the public facilities.

The mens’ actions forced contractors to redo much of their work and delayed the trailhead opening to the public by several months.

The restitution they will have to pay will compensate the contractors for the work they had to redo.

In a press release, District Attorney Brett Barkey stated that “making crime victims who suffer financial loss whole again is a critical part of holding offenders accountable.”

He noted the contractors were contractually obligated to redo the work that was damaged by the vandals.

The project was funded in part by Steamboat Springs lodging tax dollars.

Contractors who were just a day away from finishing the project arrived at the site on Sept. 10, 2015, sickened by the amount of vandalism they saw.

Investigators started eyeing Enger after they found him in the Routt County Jail after he was suspected of crashing his car on Routt County Road 129 while intoxicated.

He eventually told investigators he crashed shortly after causing the damage at the trailhead.

A Routt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy linked Enger to the crime scene by matching a boot print at the trailhead to the boots Enger was wearing in jail.

Enger took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief and felony criminal mischief.

He was sentenced to 90 days in Routt County Jail, 148 hours of public service and was ordered to write an apology letter.

Jones pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief.

A judge found that Enger and Jones are jointly and severally liable for the full restitution amount, meaning if one of them does not pay, the other will still have to pay the full amount.

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