Snowboards a hot item for theft
Snowboards are tempting targets for thieves whether they are inside residences or stores, secured in car racks or sitting outside a ski resort while the owner satisfies a craving for Chinese food.
Seven boards were reported stolen last week. Three weeks ago when the group Pennywise played an afternoon concert at Heavenly Ski Resort about 30 boards were swiped, an employee said. In December, three thieves allegedly stole more than $17,000 worth of snowboards and jackets from a snowboard shop by smashing a front window.
Alpine County Sheriff’s Department reported $5,000 worth of snowboards snatched from Kirkwood and Bear Valley Ski Resorts in 2002.
Assistant Sheriff Robert Levy suspects the losses are higher since many people don’t report thefts because of the time involved.
“It’s just like leaving $100 bills lying on the snow,” he said.
Sometimes the snowboards aren’t just lying in the snow.
Two employees at Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort were arrested on Jan. 29 for burglary and conspiring to commit burglary.
Jason McConahey, 21, and Scott Forbes 22, filled out rental forms with false names and information Jan. 24 at Sierra. They told a co-worker about the heist who then told a supervisor, the El Dorado Sheriff’s Department said.
After a Jan. 29 police interview, deputies took the two men and searched their homes for the boards. According to a police report, Forbes told deputies a friend was using the $700 Lib Technologies board he stole.
McConahey allegedly told a co-worker he traded a $700 Burton Jussie model for a quarter-ounce of marijuana, but he told deputies a friend borrowed it, a sheriff’s report said.
Deputies recovered the Lib Tech stolen by Forbes, but have not recovered the Burton took by McConahey.
The two are being held in the El Dorado County Jail on $10,000 bail.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Jim Watson said in the 20 years he has been investigating burglaries, the majority of suspects in snowboard thefts are employees at ski resorts.
“If we identify them and can establish the crime against them, we’ll definitely arrest them,” Watson said.
Ski resorts have ski check-ins for people who are worried about leaving their snow sliders unattended. Heavenly and Kirkwood ski resorts offer free check-ins and Sierra charges a dollar fee for non-Vertical members and non-renters. There are also nine cameras watching the base lodge.
Jeff Grego, 28, was visiting Heavenly from Kansas City, Mo., and grabbed his board from the ski and snowboard check-in.
“In Colorado you don’t find it but it’s nice to come here and be able to check your board and not worry about it,” he said.
An employee at Pacific Pawnbrokers said before buying snowboards, the shop checks with the police department to make sure they’re not stolen. However, he said, most people look for a better bargain.
“We’re not willing to pay a lot of money for them,” he said. “A lot of people who walk in here walk right out with them.”
South Lake Tahoe Police Sgt. Alex Schumacher said it is important for victims of snowboard thefts to know their board’s serial number.
“Once we have the serial numbers we put them a computer of stolen property nationwide,” he said. “Without the serial number, it’s just a snowboard. There’s too many (people) that don’t know it.”