High Country Crime: Baby Jesus returned to manger at Steamboat church | SummitDaily.com

High Country Crime: Baby Jesus returned to manger at Steamboat church

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

Baby Jesus has been safely returned to his manger at the Holy Name Catholic Church in Steamboat Springs.

"It's exactly the outcome we were hoping for, and we are grateful to the person who returned it," said Betsy Johnston, who works at the church.

Steamboat Police Department officer John McCartin said someone called the police department at about 8 a.m. to report Jesus was back at the manger.

"Somebody called in just after 8 a.m.," McCartin said. "They were going by the church and Jesus was in there."

The statue had last been seen at about 9 p.m. on Christmas Day. A parishioner noticed it was gone at about 2:15 p.m. the next day.

Johnston believed the person who took it probably did not want a bad conscience.

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"I have a feeling the person saw it in the paper and then said 'goodness,'" Johnston said.

This is not the first time baby Jesus has gone missing.

He was reported missing on Dec. 28, 2009, along with Joseph and a lamb. It was later learned that a pair of men who were walking from a bar to a house party on Pine Street stole the three figures.

A Crime Stoppers tip led to the discovery of those figures.

They were picked up from the party house and returned to the manager.

-Matt Stensland, Steamboat Today

Unhappy inmate strikes Pitkin County deputies on Christmas day

An uncooperative inmate bit two deputies at the Pitkin County Jail on Christmas morning and punched one in the face, according to court documents.

Nicholas Olson, 25, is facing two counts of felony assault as a result of the incident, according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.

Olson was in the jail's gym area and "was being rude and not getting along with two other inmates … in the gym, was asked to leave and refused," the affidavit states.

Two more jail deputies responded and began escorting Olson to his cell after he again refused to leave the gym, according to the affidavit. However, as the deputies were escorting Olson out, his arm broke free and he swung his fist and hit a deputy in the side of the face, the affidavit states.

"While attempting to place Olson in handcuffs, (three deputies) ended up on the ground with Olson (and) Olson proceeded to bite (one of them) on the arm on three separate occasions and bit (the second deputy who was punched in the face) on the leg," according to the document.

Olson was in the jail after being arrested in October for possession of a controlled substance.

-The Aspen Times

Alleged forger in jail after money found drying in his Glenwood Springs motel room

Jabez Parker managed to avoid the long arm of the law for a decade and a half, mostly because he was in a Michigan prison.

However, Parker is currently incarcerated in the Eagle County jail for forgery and other alleged financial felonies.

Prosecutors say Parker was staying in a Glenwood Springs motel when police there found what was clearly not his laundry: various denominations of bills hanging to dry in his motel room, they said. It had been washed with Easy Off oven cleaner and other cleaning products, Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum said Tuesday, Dec. 26, during Parker's first court appearance in Eagle County.

Police say that in counterfeiting operations, real money is bleached with household chemicals to remove the ink. A new denomination is then printed on the paper, so a $5 bill can become a $50 bill. Money counterfeited by that method can be tough to detect because markers used to detect fake money won't pick up on the fakes, since the paper is authentic.

Parker protested that he had no idea the counterfeit bills were hanging in his room.

Judge Jonathan Shamis reminded Parker of his right to remain silent.

"The prosecution is overzealous in this matter. … I don't understand all these made-up charges — where they came from. I'm really lost right now. I wake up one morning and I'm being thrown around," Parker said.

Parker's Garfield County bond was $2,500. McCollum trotted out arrest warrants from Nebraska, Idaho, Indiana, Garfield County and Avon and asked for a higher bond. Parker told Shamis to set the bond at whatever he wanted.

"I'm not going to be able to post it anyway," he said.

Parker was already in the Garfield County jail for counterfeiting and forgery charges. He was transported to Eagle County to be advised that he faces forgery charges in Avon. McCollum said the 5th Judicial District Attorney's Office will add racketeering to Parker's list of charges — a Class 2 felony.

-Randy Wyrick, Vail Daily

Grand County burglary ring: 6 suspects targeted 40 homes

The investigation into a string of burglaries in Grand County is making progress, three weeks after two persons of interest in the case fled from law enforcement officials, spurring a multi-day manhunt into the backcountry.

Law enforcement officials have had to move slowly and deliberately in the investigation given recent developments into the scope of the burglary ring. Officials are now investigating six different suspects connected to around 40 different burglaries around the county. And more continue to emerge.

"They did a whole lot more than we thought they did a couple of weeks ago," said Lt. Dan Mayer of the Grand County Sheriff's Office. "We were thinking five or six, and now they're connected to about 40. So we don't know how far this is going to go."

More information is coming to light everyday, with two more burglaries having taken place over the last week in the Granby area. Police are making headway, however.

A video of two of the suspects committing a burglary recently surfaced, and a number of stolen items have already been recovered from pawnshops in Denver.

Mayer said that the suspects have primarily targeted the Grand Lake area, and that burglaries have been connected to the suspects as far back as May of this year. The burglars often target tools and power equipment.

Law enforcement officials expect to file their case with the county's district attorney in about two weeks, after which arrests will be made, according to Mayer.

"We have to craft this right and do a good job on it," said Mayer. "It may be a couple more weeks, but to potentially be able to solve 40 crimes is worth it."

-Sawyer D'Argonne, Sky-Hi News

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