End of season sees spike of theft in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

End of season sees spike of theft in Aspen

The Aspen Highlands closing day party is legendary, but it is also a prime opportunity for theft, Aspen police officers say.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

In newspaper classifieds, Facebook posts and police reports, people are seeking everything from skis to cameras to sentimental jewelry lost at the Aspen Highlands closing day party.

It’s not a surprise to the Aspen Police Department, which every year has residents trickling in over the few days after the party to report missing belongings.

“Highlands (closing day) is probably the day that we get the most reports of thefts from our hills,” Sergeant Chip Seamans said.

Seamans has observed fewer reports of theft this year than in the past. Most have been missing ski gear, but the cost to one individual totaled around $3,000, he said.

“It’s quite an obvious opportunity that’s available there, which is unfortunate,” Seamans said.

Jeff Hanle, spokesman for Aspen Skiing Co., said he wasn’t aware of the company gathering up items left after closing day. Skiers and snowboarders are responsible for their own belongings, and many return the next day to find items right where they left them.

The most common occurrence at Aspen Highlands, closing day or not, is that people leave belongings inside the ticket booth area despite signage reminding guests that it will be put outside when the doors are closed at the end of the day, Seamans said. That pile is a prime opportunity for theft.

The Police Department was successful this year in encouraging security officials to aim cameras at that pile though, and on Friday afternoon, officers were preparing to review that surveillance.

“Maybe we’ll get some traction from that,” Seamans said.

It’s not just Highlands closing day, though. Ski theft happens throughout the year, and at the end of both the winter and summer seasons, theft seems to rise throughout town, especially at employee-housing complexes.

Officer Brady Jax of the Snowmass Village Police Department said he’s observed a similar trend there, too, and not only with theft. In the past, seasonal residents have been known to write bad checks as they made their way out of town, he said.

“In general, at the end of the season, people are scheduled to ship out of town tomorrow so they unfortunately see something sitting there and have the desire to pick up that pair of sunglasses or ski boots or whatever,” Seamans said.


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