Vehicle burglaries at high-country trailheads

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CAMP VERDE and VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK, Ariz. -- Deputies from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office are warning hikers not to leave valuables in their vehicles when they park at trailheads.

Deputies investigated four different daytime trailhead vehicle burglaries on April 24 at four different trailheads in the Camp Verde and Village of Oak Creek area.

The burglaries occurred at Montezuma Well, Bell trailhead located just west of the Beaver Creek Campground, Palatki Ruins outside of Sedona, and the Cliffrose trailhead in Cottonwood. 

At the Palatki Ruins parking area, witnesses saw a 1990’s model Ford Explorer, dark blue over all with a grey quarter panel. The Ford is likely an older model with scratched up paint. A male was seen near the victim’s vehicle, but there are no further details on his description. It is possible all 4 burglaries are linked to the same person or people.

In each case, the perpetrator smashed windows to gain entry into the vehicles.

Items stolen at the Cliffrose trailhead included a large white canvas "Diane Von Frustenger" purse with red and purple flowers, $150 in cash, along with Chase and Barclay credit cards.

From the Bell trailhead the victim lost a grey "Redwing" backpack, pants and various clothing, a gold cloth Velcro wallet, credit cards, $20 in cash, and Federal and State River guiding credentials.

At the Montezuma Well location, the victim lost her purse and wallet including two $100 bills, credit cards and identification.

The victim who parked at the Palatki Ruins trailhead lost a grey "Frye" brand purse containing her wallet with credit cards, cellphone, and jewelry.

The sheriff’s office recommends that anyone parking their vehicles in trailhead areas should not leave valuables in plain sight. If at all possible, do not carry valuables in your vehicle if you plan to use a trailhead parking area. In most of these cases, thieves forced entry into vehicles only where items of value were easily visible. Trailhead parking lots are a prime target for this type of criminal activity. In past cases, suspects were known to monitor the parking area and wait for hikers to leave their vehicle unattended. Once the owner was out of sight on their hike, suspects had plenty of time to burglarize vehicles knowing the owners may not return for several hours. 

YCSO deputies are seeking anyone with information on these crimes to call 928-771-3260 or Yavapai Silent Witness at 1800-932-3232 where an anonymous tip leading to an arrest could also lead to a cash reward.