Walt Vanatta, Police Beat
Walt Vanatta's "Police Beat" column appears monthly in the Craig Daily Press
(Below is a summary of my monthly report to the Craig City Council regarding Police Department activity for January.)
The Craig Police Department responded to 1,202 requests for service during the month of January, and Community Service responded to 170 requests for service.
Crimes of the month
(written by Sergeant John Forgay)
A new year, but a new beginning isn't always the case. January presented a number of "the usual crimes" for the department. Among the most common were domestic violence calls. As if often seen, alcohol played a part in several.
The most notable of these calls occurred on the last day of the month, very early in the morning. The information that a handgun was involved and the fact that the circumstances developed that created a possible standoff situation, resulted in the callout of the combined police and SERT (Special Emergency Response Team) officers. The call ended peacefully with the arrest of a 25-year-old man and the recovery of a .45 caliber handgun from the suspect's vehicle.
Among thefts from unattended vehicles during the month, two firearms were stolen, which is always a concern for officers. Law enforcement officers continually advise against keeping firearms in vehicles that are left unattended. An opportunist thief may not be looking for a weapon when stealing from an auto, but he or she usually will not hesitate to take one if he or she discover it during a crime.
At a local "self serve" kiosk for DVD rentals, the terms "self serve" apparently was taken literally when the door to the machine was left unlocked. A witness observed some people removing DVDs from the machine, but not in the usual manner.
The information was called in, and the resulting investigation, within a short time of the thefts, led to the arrest of a 27-year-old woman for third-degree burglary and theft. The DVDs were recovered, thus there should not be a late fee. The investigation is still looking at a second suspect, also a woman.
A local convenience store reported that a male and female entered the store and appeared somewhat inebriated. The female wanted "nachos" while the male pulled out a screwdriver and asked for the money.
The clerk, less than frightened, laughed at the male. Perplexed, he joined the female. They got their nachos, which they paid for, and left the store.
Joking or not, that was bad judgment. The suspects were not identified.
The theft of a $15,000-plus ATV in December was solved with a great follow-up investigation and assistance from the Moffat County Sheriff's Office. The ATV was recovered.
A 26-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman are charged with several crimes in connection with the theft of the machine.
Fraudulent scams continue to claim victims. "Mystery shopper," "work at home" and requests for assistance in removing millions of dollars out of foreign countries are the most prevalent.
Beware of unsolicited correspondence and notify your local law enforcement officials when you suspect you have received such offers. Don't be a pawn to crooked schemes.
Code Enforcement Officer Becky Otis and Community Service Officer Connie Davis handled the following calls during January:
• Spoke to the owners and red tagged 14 abandoned vehicles. Two vehicles were towed.
• No weed complaints.
• No code violations.
• One junk/trash violation. The owner was spoken to and brought the property into compliance.
Eric Montes and Norm Rimmer were hired as police officers effective Jan. 12.
Montes is 21 and lives in Craig. He and his family have lived in Craig for about 10 years. He is a Moffat County High School graduate and recently graduated from the police academy in Rangely. He is bilingual.
Rimmer is 38 and has more than 10 years of law enforcement experience in the Grand County area. During the past year, he was working for DynCorp in Iraq as a civilian police advisor.
The Sergeant Promotional Process took place Jan. 28 to fill the position vacated by Dusty Schulze's resignation. Corporal Core Wagner, Detective Ken Johnson and officers Tony Fandel and Alvin Luker applied for this position.
On Jan. 22 and 23, Detective Jen Kenney and officers Norm Rimmer and Eric Montes attended Patrol Rifle Operators training at the Moffat County Public Safety Center in Craig.
All officers attended a refresher on driving under the influence training in January at the Safety Center.
All officers attended Officer Survivor Training in January in Steamboat Springs.
The Citizens Police Academy will begin March 12. Graduation is scheduled for May 21. If you have not attended one of these, I would highly recommend you do as a way to learn how police departments function.