Vandals strike!

This swastika was spray-painted on a door at Platte Canyon Community Church. (Photo courtesy Park County Sheriff’s Department)

Late for dinner

Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw was about to return home from work for dinner on the evening of July 10 when he noticed a four-door sedan recklessly passing other cars on the shoulder through a construction zone near Bailey.

McGraw made an attempt to pull the car over.

“I was just going to give him a verbal warning and move along,” McGraw said. “But as soon as he saw I was in pursuit, he ran. He almost hit several construction workers who were wrapping the site up for the day, and very quickly it turned into a seriously dangerous situation.”

The pursuit spilled onto the open highway at high speeds traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 285. While in pursuit, McGraw learned that the suspect’s automobile had been reported as stolen.

Anticipating that the chase would continue along its route of origin, stop sticks were placed on the southbound side of the road near Grant. Stop sticks, designed to flatten tires and immobilize vehicles, worked as planned but the suspect barreled ahead on rims only until finally crashing into the entry gates at the YMCA Camp Santa Maria.

“I had a feeling that they would jump out and run if they crashed … and of course they did,” McGraw said.

The suspects, a male and female, ran onto the Santa Maria property and hid from authorities overnight while Sheriff’s Office personnel scrambled to execute a camp-wide lockdown.  

“So we couldn’t find them, locked down the entire facility, got all the kids back to their cabins for the night, and then the next morning someone saw the suspects on foot near the camp where we arrested them,” McGraw said. “Turns out they have committed a number of car burglaries.”

The two suspects, as of July 15, were still being held in custody in the Park County Jail on a $10,000 cash bond.

“We were really fortunate that the weather and road conditions were not bad, and that traffic was relatively light during the pursuit,” McGraw said.

 A disturbing message

The Park County Sheriff’s Department was alerted to a disturbing development Saturday morning, July 13.

It was discovered that some time overnight a swastika and other racially-charged messages had been spray-painted on the outside of an exterior door at the Platte Canyon Community Church, located at 4954 County Road 64 in Bailey.

Additionally, another swastika had been spray-painted on the Deer Creek Realty sign, located next door to the church.

The act, as well as the message, prompted a swift, stern response from McGraw.

‘We absolutely will not put up with this sort of activity in this county,” McGraw said. “We will do everything possible to find the parties who are responsible for this.”

The case was promptly assigned to a Park County detective, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified, and the Sheriff offered a $500 reward to anyone providing information leading to the capture of those responsible for the acts.

Anyone with information pertaining to these crimes is advised to report such information online, or to call in the tip to the Park County Communications Center non-emergency line at 719-836-4121, option 5.

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