Coupe de Steal: Pitkin deputies investigate package thefts caught on video | AspenTimes.com
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Coupe de Steal: Pitkin deputies investigate package thefts caught on video

A still from surveillance video at the site of the Christmas morning grab-and-run theft.
Video screenshot

It couldn’t have been more blatant, and it was all caught on video. Now, police are following leads to try to catch the Christmas morning grinches of the Crystal Valley.

Video surveillance captured by the property owner and shared on social media as well as with the Post Independent shows a car drive up to a private mailbox kiosk along southbound Colorado Highway 133 in a greenish-colored, two-door coupe.

It’s been a common occurrence at rural mailbox sites in the area and particularly up the rural but easily accessible Crystal River Valley, Pitkin County Sheriff Chief Deputy of Operations Parker Lathrop said.



Sheriff’s officials saw the video after it had been posted on social-media groups, including the Carbondale, Colorado, Facebook page, and have opened an investigation.

This particular theft took place about 7:35 a.m. on Sunday, Christmas Day, Lathrop said.




“We saw it through the online community and reached out to the individual who posted it,” he said.

Because the theft involves an official U.S. Postal Service delivery site, the postal inspector has also been alerted, he said. Three of the packages had the Amazon insignia on them, so they could have arrived via multiple package-delivery services.

Lathrop said the remote reaches of Pitkin County and neighboring counties are particularly susceptible to grab-and-run thefts from roadside mailboxes. The so-called “porch pirate” incidents, where thieves grab packages from people’s porches, also happen but have become less common due to the increase in use of security cameras, he said.

With the commuter nature of the Roaring Fork and Crystal valleys, where people drive long distances to work or run errands and are gone all day long, packages left unattended are an easy target, he said.

“What we’re telling the public is, if you can’t be there when a package is to be delivered, there are ways to make sure they are secure,” he said.

Alerting a neighbor to keep an eye out for a package delivery or using another address where someone will be present are good ways to prevent theft, he suggested.

Short of video evidence, there’s not a lot law enforcement can go on when package thefts occur, Lathrop said.

“As much as we wish we could be everywhere all the time, that’s just not possible,” he said. Sheriff’s patrols have increased along the Highway 133 corridor after several such incidents have been reported in recent weeks, he said.

“We’ll do the best with what we have, but we really encouarage people be proactive with their packages and take away that opportunity for people,” he said.

If anyone has any other information about this or other incident or who sees something suspicious occurring at a mail kiosk, Lathrop encouraged people to call the Sheriff’s Office at 970-920-5300.

The resident who shared the video did not want to be identified for this stor but said this is the fifth time packages have been stolen from that particular location, and other incidents were also caught on video. Previous thefts in the vicinity have involved other items, like a dirt bike and tools, the person said.

Post Independent interim managing editor and senior reporter John Stroud can be reached at jstroud@postindependent.com or at 970-384-9160.

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