Vehicles burglarized at Snyderville Basin trailhead near Utah Olympic Park
Three vehicles were burglarized while parked at the Run-A-Muk trailhead near the Utah Olympic Park on Tuesday, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
The vehicles were parked in the small lot on Olympic Parkway when they were broken into at around 5:30 p.m. Purses containing wallets and credit cards were taken and used at stores in the Kimball Junction area, a Sheriff’s Office report states.
Deputies responded to the area, along with officers from the Park City Police Department. However, no suspects were located. An investigation was underway.
“At this point our investigators are working with retail establishments to get surveillance because we only have a vague description of the suspect at this point,” said Lt. Andrew Wright, of the Sheriff’s Office. “It’s a reminder to keep your purses and wallets out of your car if you don’t need to have them.”
One of the victim’s purses was hidden under the seat when it was taken, Wright said. He said it is unclear whether the perpetrator was watching the lot when the cars were parked or how they knew where to find the purse. He believed all the vehicles were locked when the burglaries occurred.
“It’s one of those cases where they did almost everything they could to prevent their items from being stolen,” he said.
Vehicle burglaries at recreation trailheads are not uncommon. Wright said trailhead parking lots may be enticing because the owners of cars won’t likely return for some time and the lots don’t often have surveillance.
“This would be pure assumption, but I would assume a criminal looks at the trailhead as the perfect opportunity,” he said. “There is limited amount of traffic because they are usually remote and secluded. Criminals may assume that if people are going to go out and hike, they most likely aren’t going to carry a purse with them. It looks as if it is less risky for them and probably a great opportunity of obtaining people’s personal valuables.”
Wright suggested people carry a smaller purse with them when they go hiking or leave their wallet at home, remembering to just bring their driver’s license.
As the holiday season approaches and people start shopping for gifts, vehicle burglaries may occur more frequently, Wright said.
“Criminals know that is what people are doing and storing large amounts of merchandise in their car in between stores,” he said. “It is one of those difficult things we do have to think about. It would be nice to be able to go out and enjoy the holiday season. But, unfortunately, we have to keep in mind that there is a chance that someone could take advantage of these valuables in the car.”
Wright advised shoppers to place items in their trunk or keep them out of sight if they can. But, he recognized that some people may not be able to do that in every situation. He said another thing people can consider is moving their car to a different spot if they are shopping at multiple stores so that it creates the illusion they left.
“This isn’t going to be something that is 100 percent preventable because sometimes you have to put stuff in your car,” he said. “But, there are things you can do to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim of what we would call a crime of opportunity.”
Wright encouraged anyone who sees someone acting suspiciously to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 435-615-3600.
“Sometimes us driving through is enough to scare criminals away because that makes our presence known,” he said.
A former Summit County victim advocate who was facing a felony count of misusing public money pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge in a deal with prosecutors.