After a recent rash of thefts at Roosevelt Lake, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office says campers should lock up their gear and be on high alert for suspicious activity.
On Sunday, $3,000 worth of fishing gear, including eight rod and reel combos and a large tackle box, was taken off two fishing boats near Windy Hill campground, said Gila County Sheriff’s Sgt. David Hornung.
Several weeks before that, nine poles were taken off a boat and three generators were taken from campsites over two weekends.
The thefts are happening in the largest and most popular campgrounds, Windy Hill and Cholla, between midnight and 6 a.m., Hornung said.
The thieves are specifically taking the Honda 2000 generator, a popular lightweight generator used to power fifth wheels and campers.
One generator, locked to a camper’s leveling support, was removed with bolt cutters. Hornung recommends campers chain their generators to a camper because it makes more noise when cut.
While some of the fishing gear was taken from boats beached near the campground, other gear was brazenly taken from boats parked next to trailers with homeowners inside.
The sheriff’s office is currently investigating several leads, one based on campers seeing a specific vehicle patrol through the area several times at a low speed.
Hornung said it is crucial campers are extra observant of suspicious activity and report anything that seems out of the ordinary.
When officers interviewed campers Sunday, “they all named the same vehicle coming through, but no one called in to report it or write down the license number except but one guy,” Hornung said.
Two weekends ago, there were no thefts in the area because of increased patrols, Hornung believes. This weekend, officers were busy handling other calls and could not patrol as often.
However, every year campers report a high number of thefts in the campgrounds, he said.
Campers can protect themselves by locking up all personal items inside a camper or a vehicle.
Anyone with information on the thefts, can call the sheriff’s office at (928) 474-2208.