A brazen break-in and robbery took place at the Cedaredge Food Town store early Saturday morning, Nov. 26.
As a result, Cedaredge police are now investigating the break-in, robbery, a vehicle theft and also an arson that concluded the crime spree.
According to Cedaredge police, an unknown person or persons used the Cedaredge Mercantile's own snowplow pickup truck parked near the store entrance to bash through the doors of the store's front vestibule. The store's ATM cash dispensing machine was then stolen from its bolted down location in the vestibule area.
Police a short time later recovered the ATM machine, destroyed and emptied of cash, along with the truck where it had been driven and set afire with the ATM inside on Doughspoon Road in the 'dobies some five to six miles distance as the crow flies from Cedaredge.
There has been no official estimate for the value of damage and loss. Police believe it could exceed $50,000 including damages to the store, the machine, the truck, and lost cash. Store manager Blake Bynum told the Delta County Independent he was estimating a $30,000 figure for the loss. He had not yet spoken with an adjuster when he spoke with the DCI on Monday. Bynum said that the building's automatic sliding glass doors that were destroyed will be the single most costly item to replace.
The automatic doors are custom made and must be ordered from out of this area. Bynum said it could be 14 to 30 days before their replacement is completed. The ATM machine was store-owned and will be replaced at some point in a new location inside the store.
Police said they believe the pickup, which had a snowplow attached to the front, was backed into the vestibule area gaining access to the ATM. Cameras in the vestibule area were not working at the time of the break-in and robbery.
The crime is under investigation as the department awaits new information and the results of tests on evidence collected at the scene, including some suspected DNA evidence, police said.
Police Chief Dan Sanders told the DCI the store's pickup had been locked and that the ignition key was kept inside the store. Bynum confirmed that and added that the thieves broke out a window to gain access to the truck.
The arsoned truck and ATM machine were recovered at about 8 a.m. following notification from fire department personnel who had answered a call to the scene.
The Delta County Sheriff Department issued the following statement on Monday morning: "At about 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, dispatch was notified of a vehicle on fire on Doughspoon Road near the electric substation. Deputies were told the vehicle was possibly the truck stolen from Cedaredge Food Town earlier that same morning. Deputies located the truck and the stolen ATM, which was on the front seat of the truck and also set on fire."
Bynum said, "A lot of people have been supportive, and we really appreciate that." He added that Cedaredge Food Town will be open normal hours.
Chief Sanders asked that anyone with information on the incident call Delta County Crimestoppers at 874-8810 where they can leave information anonymously and possibly receive a cash reward.