Charissa Schmidt and Jeff Moellentine, owners of the Ponderosa Country Store in Lake George, notified the Park County Sheriff’s office of a suspected theft of fuel in November 2021.

The deputy who took the report had given his two weeks’ notice to the department and it was in that time frame when the report was taken. He failed to pass the information along, and the case was overlooked.

Schmidt reached out to The Flume in July with her concerns over the matter, stating they were trying to sell the operation because they are unable to invest the money needed to upgrade the gas pumps. She stated they had been dealing with theft from the pumps since June 2021 at a substantial loss. “I put together four months of bank charge backs equaling over $6000.00 in fuel, along with pictures of the vehicle with descriptions of the suspects,” said Schmidt.

The Flume contacted Sheriff Tom McGraw, and Lt. Jen Plutt made contact with Schmidt and Moellentine and has re-opened the case with added information and states the investigation will continue and more than likely will be turned over to the detectives. No other information was available, due to the case being an active investigation.

Schmidt stated they have enjoyed servicing the community for the past seven years; but the business is for sale, and if they are unable to find a buyer by October, they will shut it down. “My family cannot and will not continue to generate 1.5 million in taxable revenue for Park County while this theft is ruining our business,” she said.

“Unfortunately, Park County doesn’t see us as valuable or worth protecting,” she concluded.

“Park County Sheriff’s Office has and always will value and support our local businesses.  We do not make it a practice to have things like this happen.  We now have adjusted our procedures to assess when deputies depart our agency to assure this will not happen again,” said Lt. Jen Plutt, Park County Sheriff’s Office.

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