$10,000 reward for information on vandalism at natural gas system | AspenTimes.com

$10,000 reward for information on vandalism at natural gas system

Aspen Police Department and Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office seeking tips

The words "Earth First!" were written gas pipe that was tampered with in Aspen over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The Aspen Police Department and Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office have announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the recent case of vandalism and tampering that impacted the city’s natural gas system. Anyone with information can contact the Aspen Police Department at 970-920-5400 or email the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office at tips@pitkinsheriff.com.

The vandalism occurred the evening of Dec. 26 at three Black Hills Energy locations in Aspen. Black Hills Energy was notified of low pressure at a location in Aspen around 8:30 p.m., according to a news release. At 9:30 p.m., local police responded to a resident’s concerns citing “unnatural sounds at a gas pump station” and determined tampering occurred at the site, according to the release; the Sheriff’s Office identified two additional locations where similar activity occurred.

“Investigators recovered physical evidence from all three scenes, including graffiti scrawled on the pipeline equipment referencing ‘Earth First!’” the release stated. Investigators are working with local, state and federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security.

The initial incident caused isolated service disruptions for approximately 50 customers in Aspen. Black Hills subsequently shut off nearly 3,500 meters for safety reasons, causing a citywide outage that left most of Aspen without heat or hot water for several days. The city declared a state of emergency during the outage.

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