SALT LAKE CITY — Snowbird Public Safety tracked down a local man who allegedly stole more than a dozen pairs of skis over the span of four months from the resort beginning in November, 2020.
“Bizarre, you know, ski thefts they happen, every ski resort has them occasionally but this one here, the amount was quite extreme,” said Robert Canard, Snowbird’s Public Safety Investigator & Compliance Officer, who started receiving a dramatic increase in stolen skis from one specific area at the resort. “We started doing extra patrols in that area, they all kind of happened in a certain location at a certain timeframe, so that really gave us a good spot to clue in on and look for the suspect.”
According to Snowbird and Unified Police, 15 pairs of skis were allegedly stolen from November until March with a total value between $11,000 and $13,000. After a handful were stolen from the area, public safety started looking for leads. Eventually the man appeared on surveillance video and the team tracked him for an additional few weeks.
“Our department worked tirelessly, weekend after weekend after weekend trying to get this individual and then with the help of our parking staff I mean it just came together perfectly, couldn’t have come together any better,” said Canard. The parking staff noticed the mans vehicle and unique clothing. Canard was able to catch up to the suspect and ask him some questions before turning over his evidence, reports and findings to Unified Police.
“This is phenomenal, this never happens,” said UPD Detective Lee Arnold, who took on the case and later located the skis inside of a garage at a residence in Cottonwood Heights. The 26-year-old man allegedly involved will likely face charges, but they’re unknown as of Wednesday. “Once that when we went into his garage, he told us that he never wanted to sell them, he was afraid he was going to get caught and he never wanted to use them, he just felt compelled to steal them.”
The skis were booked into evidence and released to their rightful owners this week. Some of the skis belonged to travelers from as far as New York or California. Snowbird said that they will cover the costs to ship the skis back to their owners.
“Who calls and says ‘ya found my skis four months later’, nobody, but this particular time, it was real and they were just so happy,” said Det. Arnold. “Couldn’t have done this without Snowbird and their public safety, they were the key to this case, they’re the ones that really cracked this case open.”
FOX 13 was at Unified Police when Daniel Cutler of Provo came to pick up his skis that had been reported stolen in January.
“My first reaction was like, just like baffled, I was like, ok my skis are not here anymore,” said Cutler, who just bought his skis and had only taken three runs on them before heading inside the lodge for a lunch break. “I knew like I probably never going to see them, that was my next thought, was like, well that’s a good chunk of change down the drain.”
Cutler said that when he heard from Detective Arnold asking him about his skis, he thought someone was playing a joke on him. “I was like, those are mine for sure, so yeah, I was shocked,” he said.
Snowbird Public Safety recommends that skiers and riders take some precautionary measures to keep their gear from being tampered with, not just at Snowbird but at any resort.
They recommend carrying a small lock, splitting up skis or simply keeping an eye on them at all times.
If you or someone you know has had their gear stolen from a resort, report it directly to resort personnel and law enforcement immediately.