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Suspect pleads not guilty in theft of Dolores campground’s iconic Airstream

Judge disagreed with no-jail stipulation in plea agreement
This 1953 Airstream is back home in the Dolores River Campground after it had been stolen in August.

A Cortez woman charged in the alleged theft of a classic Airstream camper from the Dolores River Campground has pleaded not guilty, according to 22nd Judicial District court proceedings.

Elizabeth Ann Rogers is suspected in the theft and attempted sale of the restored 1953 Flying Cloud Airstream, which was taken from the campground Aug. 12 in the middle of the night.

She allegedly sold it to a vintage dealer in California for $7,500, according to court documents. But a few days later, the buyer saw social media posts about its disappearance, and he contacted the Dolores owners, who drove out and retrieved it.

Rogers was arrested in September on a warrant alleging charges of theft in the stolen Airstream case, according to an arrest affidavit.

As part of a plea agreement hearing Jan. 5, Rogers pleaded guilty to a count of Class 6 felony theft, but Rogers has since withdrawn her guilty plea, Assistant District Attorney Matt Margeson said Friday. The case is now set for trial.

The voided plea agreement had called for probation and $7,500 restitution and stipulated no jail time.

But District Court Judge Todd Plewe objected to the no-jail stipulation. He called it inappropriate because of Rogers’ past criminal history of two prior felonies.

“The stipulation to no jail seems appropriate for a first felony but not a third,” Plewe said.

A Class 6 Felony theft charge carries possible jail time from six months to 18 months. Jail sentencing is at the discretion of the judge.

During the plea agreement hearing, public defender Emily Bolotin said Rogers has started to pay back the person who had purchased the stolen trailer and “is adamant” about making everyone whole in the case. Bolotin questioned the level of culpability of her client, and suggested another person was involved.

According to the incident report, on Aug. 12, at 12:04 a.m. “the night it went missing“ Rogers allegedly contacted the buyer about an Airstream trailer she had for sale, and then arranged for it to be sold at a residence south of Durango.

A social media blast by the well-connected Airstream community alerted the California dealer who had just purchased the camper from a dubious seller. On Aug. 15, the dealer informed the owners that he had the trailer and arranged for its return.

“The power of social media helped to bring it back,” said owner Billy Beyhan.

Dec 2, 2021
Dolores campground’s prize Airstream recovered after theft