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Unattended car stolen in Cortez, taken to Dolores

Thieves drive to gas station, escape on foot

Drivers may want to think twice about warming up their cars unattended while they get ready for work inside the house.

Opportunistic thieves look for this type of opportunity, as was the case early Jan. 28 in Cortez when somebody stole a Chevy Suburban idling on Chestnut Street.

A Montezuma County Sheriff’ deputy spotted the vehicle later in the day, and followed it into Dolores. The deputy observed two men exit the vehicle and walk away after parking at a gas station.

Upon inspection, it was observed that the vehicle’s license plates had been replaced with fake ones, according to a sheriff report, and several commercial containers of marijuana could be seen in the vehicle.

After securing the vehicle, several sheriff deputies began a search for the men in a four block area on the west side of Dolores, with one deputy searching on foot carrying a rifle. A K-9 police dog also joined the search, as did an officer with the Colorado State Patrol and a Mancos marshal.

The two suspects were not found, and the vehicle was impounded by Cortez police officers. It was searched, and evidence was turned over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for analysis. The vehicle was returned to the owner unharmed. There are no suspects at this time, but the case remains under investigation.

Lt. Andy Brock, of the Cortez Police Department, said it is illegal to idle a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition, sometimes referred to as “puffing.”

“We lose one or two cars per year due to this practice,” he said.

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