OURAY - A man is in custody and authorities are still searching for an unidentified woman associated with a vehicle theft in Ouray County late last month.
The vehicle in question, a Honda Ridgeline truck, was stolen from a home off of County Road 17 between Whispering Pines and Idlewild subdivisions on March 26. The perpetrator(s) found the keys to the vehicle inside a house they were in the process of burgling.
The vehicle was discovered by law enforcement authorities in a motel parking lot in Sandy, Utah, on Thursday, April 5.
Ouray County Sheriff Junior Mattivi said that an officer with the Sandy Police Department was driving through the parking lot conducting a routine business check when he noticed that one of the cars in the lot was backed into the parking space so that its rear license plate was not showing. The car did not have a front license plate.
“He got out to check on the back license plate; and as he did that, a lady came out of the motel room, saw him and bolted,” Mattivi said. “He ran the plate and it came back as a stolen vehicle.”
The officer called for backup, then went to the motel room and discovered a man there who was subsequently arrested. Mattivi said he was not sure what charges had been filed against him, but added that the female who escaped may be the primary perpetrator.
“The male may be a victim of circumstance,” Mattivi said. “When he was asked about the female, at first he denied knowing her; finally said he knew her by a name which was associated with a stolen ID.”
Among the items authorities found while processing the stolen vehicle were some stolen credit cards. Mattivi added that “possibly some drug paraphernalia and drugs” had been discovered in the motel room.
The incident was one of a “rash of burglaries” which Mattivi said have occurred in Ouray County over the last two months.
“Since the middle of February, we have probably had six to eight burglaries,” he said. The most recent one was reported on just Monday of this week. “It’s hard to say if it’s the same perpetrator; it would be nice if it was that simple.”
Some of the homes were unlocked. In other cases, the burglar(s) broke out a window to gain entry. “Most of the [burgled] houses are sitting in a kind of secluded location, where you can’t see them from road that well, but others are right along the road,” Mattivi said. “There’s really no rhyme or reason.”
Mattivi added that the incidents have been scattered throughout the county.
Additionally, a “couple hundred” dollars was stolen from the office of the Box Canyon Motel in Ouray during the night of March 29-30. The Ouray Police Department is investigating leads on that case. Nobody has been threatened in any of the incidents thus far.
Mattivi urged county residents to “be very vigilant” and to call the Sheriff’s Department if they witness any suspicious activity.