Police still searching for man, allegedly tied to local burglaries
The hunt continues for a person of interested wanted in connection with a string of burglaries days after the man initially eluded law enforcement officials into the Grand County backcountry near the Stillwater Pass area, between Granby and Grand Lake.
On Dec. 8 a Grand County Sheriff’s Deputy investigating a series of recent burglaries identified the man as a person of interest in the case and attempted to make contact with him. The man and another male party left their cars and fled from the scene, prompting a multi-day manhunt. Later on the 8th a Code Red Alert from the Grand County Office of Emergency Management was issued, cautioning residents to remain indoors and use caution when traveling in the area.
The first man, later identified as Grand County resident Jorge Varela, was tracked to a house near milepost 11 on Highway 34 where he was found inside a crawlspace and arrested. Varela has been charged with first-degree criminal trespassing as well as multiple traffic charges.
Law enforcement officials have not released the name of the second man, though he is believed to be a Grand County resident from the Grand Lake area, about 5-foot-8, 130-pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.
The man ventured into the Stillwater Pass area where law enforcement officials from around the county, as well as Grand County Emergency Medical Services and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, searched the area using drones, all-terrain vehicles and dogs.
The next morning law enforcement officials discovered that the man was able to elude police and escape the area well after dark back onto County Road 4, according to Lt. Dan Mayer of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.
County officials decided to end the search in the Stillwater Pass area, and began executing search warrants on several locations connected with the man. Mayer said that
a “fair amount” of stolen property has already been recovered, including property taken from a burglary on County Road 4110, as previously reported by Sky-Hi News.
While the search continues, law enforcement officials believe that the man has fled the county, according to Mayer.
“Right now we’re just kind of trying to piece everything together and find out who all is involved,” said Mayer. “We’re getting a lot of phone calls from people with more information, and we’re checking the validity of those to make sure we’re getting good information.”
Sky-Hi News reporter Lance Maggart contributed to the reporting of this story.
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