Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance seeks $15,000 in stolen tools

December 13, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance members need help to recover $15,000 worth of equipment and tools stolen from Duthie Hill Park near Issaquah.

Thieves broke into the nonprofit organization’s storage boxes and trailer late Nov. 29 or early Nov. 30, and then stole chainsaws and other trail building and maintenance equipment.

Mike Westra, project manager for the nonprofit Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, learned about the incident Nov. 30, after another staffer called to report the gate to the equipment storage area had been left open overnight.

“He called me while he was driving down the access road to get into the central clearing where all of our stuff is to tell me, ‘Hey, somebody left the gate open last night,’” Westra said. “Immediately, alarm bells went off in my head, because he didn’t know it, but I was the last one out on the night before.”

Westra locked the gate before departing the Sammamish Plateau park. The other staffer soon realized equipment had been stolen, after seeing the open storage boxes and trailer.

How to help

Learn more about the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, see a list and photos of stolen items, and donate to the nonprofit organization at www.evergreenmtb.org.

“It’s this sinking feeling like, what are we going to do now?” Westra said.

The group is asking for members of the public to replace tools, track the missing tools or donate to fund replacements.

Westra said people interested in helping the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance could join the organization, donate money or equipment, or volunteer to help on projects.

Meanwhile, the King County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Sgt. Cindi West, sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said the agency does not have any leads in the case.

The organization retained serial numbers for several stolen items. The information could make the missing pieces easier for law enforcement officers to track.

“If we do find the property it will make it easier to get it back to the owner,” West said. “It will also help us discover that the items are stolen in the first place.”

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance posted details and photos about the stolen equipment on the organization’s online forum to help generate tips from the public.

“If the property is common or does not have distinct and unique features we may not be able to prove the property is stolen without the serial number having been reported,” West said.

The location inside the forested park also posed a tempting target for thieves.

“Remember that locks, lights, radios and alarms are just deterrents,” West said. “If someone really wants to get in they will. The more secluded the area the more time the bad guys have to get into a trailer, house or car.”

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance members and King County partnered to create 120-acre Duthie Hill Park, and the facility opened to mountain bikers last year.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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