The Saratoga Sun -

Wheel stealing

Saratoga plagued by recent thefts including car wheels

 


The night of Sept. 24, the wheel literally came off a Saratoga burglary operation. While a crowd was gathered inside the Platte Valley Community Center (PVCC) for a fundraiser, Saratoga Police Chief Robert Bifano guessed several would-be thieves were outside trying to steal Chevy truck rims from cars in the PVCC parking lot.

Bifano said the brazen but failed burglary, which resulted in one vehicle’s wheel rolling off when its unsuspecting owner later tried to drive away, may be part of a larger pattern of area thefts. Two Chevy trucks at the PVCC were discovered to have had their wheels tampered with the night of Sept. 24, and a third Chevy in the neighborhood near Valley Foods was also discovered to have had its lug nuts loosened around the same time, Bifano said. None of the three vehicles had their wheels successfully taken, and Bifano said truck rims were likely the target of the vandals’ attention.

If Bifano’s suspicions are correct, the wheels may only be the latest development in a series of recent disappearances. Within the last month, Bifano said two Saratoga businesses and a few homeowners have filed police reports that document thousands of dollars in stolen goods. A third business also suffered some disappearances but did not file an official police report, Bifano said.

Items taken include a chainsaw, a CB radio and an electrical generator as well as other equipment, according to Bifano. A 20-volt impact wrench from a DeWalt tool set valued at $600 that was also reported stolen following a break-in could have been used in the execution of the attempted wheel-jackings, the chief speculated.

Bifano said at least five separate incidents had been reported, and that his department was pursuing several leads. After the wheel episode, Bifano said police conducted two different “consent searches” in which suspects voluntarily allowed the police to search their premises. “(We don’t know) that these people weren’t involved, we just didn’t find anything,” Bifano said of the search results.

Other steps the police have taken to apprehend the thief or thieves includes monitoring of online markets in the area. Local pawn shops have also been notified to be on the alert for suspect items, and police have expanded their search as far away as Fort Collins, Bifano said.

“We strongly believe it’s somebody that’s been to all these places,” Bifano stated. “(The consent searches) got the word out on the street that we were actively searching for these people, and we haven’t had any incidents of burglaries since then,” the chief noted.

 

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