Vehicles burglarized at Verde Valley trailheads

VERDE VALLEY -- April 24, deputies were dispatched to four daytime trailhead vehicle burglaries at trailheads in the Beaver Creek, Sedona and Cottonwood areas.

The incidents took place at Montezuma Well in Rimrock, the Bell Trailhead, just west of the Beaver Creek Campground, Palatki Ruins outside of Sedona, and the Cliffrose Trailhead on the Mingus Extension in Cottonwood.

At the Palatki Ruins site, witnesses saw a 1990s model Ford Explorer, painted dark blue over all with a gray quarter panel. The Ford is likely older with scratched-up paint. A man was seen near a victim's vehicle, but there are no other description details. It is possible all four burglaries are linked to the same suspect or suspects.

In each case, the suspects smashed windows to get into the vehicles. Items stolen at the Cliffrose trailhead included a large white canvas "Diane Von Frustenger" purse with red and purple flowers, $150 in cash, along with Chase and Barclay credit cards.

At the Bell trailhead, the victim lost a gray "Redwing" backpack, pants and various clothing, a gold cloth Velcro wallet, credit cards, $20 in cash, and federal and state river guiding credentials.

At the Montezuma Well location, the victim lost her purse and wallet including two $100 bills, credit cards and identification.

Finally, the victim who parked at the Palatki Ruins trailhead lost a gray "Frye" brand purse containing her wallet with credit cards, cell phone, and jewelry.

The sheriff's office urges people to avoid leaving valuables in plain sight. Don't carry valuables in your vehicle if you plan to use trailhead parking.

Trailhead parking lots are a prime target for this type of criminal activity. In most cases, suspects forced entry into vehicles only where items of value were easily visible.

Suspects were known to monitor the parking area and wait for hikers to leave their vehicle unattended. Once the owner was out of sight on their hike, suspects had plenty of time to burglarize vehicles knowing the owners may not return for several hours.

YCSO deputies are seeking anyone with information on these crimes to call (928) 771-3260 or Yavapai Silent Witness at 800-932-3232 where your anonymous tip leading to an arrest could also lead to a cash reward.

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