Boulder man accused of stealing more than 70 pairs of skis |

Boulder man accused of stealing more than 70 pairs of skis

Sawyer D'Argonne, Summit Daily News

DILLON — A Boulder man is accused of stealing more than 70 pairs of skis from Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and other mountains around the state.

Jason Takeshi Kawaguchi, 40, was arrested in June after deputies with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office allegedly discovered him stealing a pair of skis from A-Basin. An investigation into the incident, including a search of Kawaguchi’s home, revealed a much bigger string of thefts throughout Summit and Boulder counties.

Kawaguchi appeared on bond to a hearing Wednesday afternoon at the Summit County Justice Center, though no disposition has been reached in the case.

On June 1, 2019, deputies were dispatched to A-Basin on a report of stolen skis, according to police records. The resort’s security team provided a video of the incident, showing the victim placing the skis on the rack outside of the Kids Center just after 8 a.m., and an unknown man picking them up about a half-hour later. The suspect, who officials believe was Kawaguchi, took the skis behind the building and placed them into a ski bag. A-Basin employees searched the area before contacting police but were unable to find him.

On June 23, deputies again responded to the resort on reports of ski theft. A member of the A-Basin security team informed the deputies that he was in the upper High Noon parking lot when he noticed a man getting out of his truck in ski boots but not carrying any other equipment. According to the witness, the man left and returned 15 minutes later with a set of skis. The security officer said he became suspicious after the man left and returned again with another set of skis.

According to reports, the security guard took down Kawaguchi’s license plate number but didn’t confront him because he had to respond to other reports of ski thefts. He later informed deputies that four people reported having their skis stolen from 10-11:30 a.m.

The security officer’s noting of the license plate provided deputies with a major break in the case, as they were able to compare a photograph of Kawaguchi — the car’s registered owner — with images captured from security footage of the June 1 theft.

On June 29, A-Basin security informed deputies that Kawaguchi had just been seen at the resort. One deputy already was on scene and allegedly witnessed Kawaguchi stealing a pair of skis firsthand. He was taken into custody without incident. At the jail, deputies noted he appeared to be wearing the same jacket as the man who was recorded during the first theft.

Deputies with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on Kawaguchi’s home, and recovered 74 pairs of skis, including some already being investigated in the case, and several that likely were stolen from Eldora Mountain near Nederland, according to reports.

Kawaguchi is charged with felony theft. At the hearing Wednesday, the case was continued so that he could complete a mental health assessment. He’s scheduled to return to court March 5.

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