Rim Visitors Center Burglarized

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A break-in at the Mogollon Rim Visitors Center Aug. 18 on Highway 260 resulted in $2,000 in damages and the theft of items worth about $7,730.

Warm, gorgeous days and cool nights are dominating us with some clouds where precipitation that was promised did not materialize. Though this weekend we still have rain that is in the forecast, there should be clearing by Sunday. And toward the middle of the week, freezing at night is predicted.

The Forest Service is asking for help in the break-in that occurred on Aug. 18 at the Mogollon Rim Visitors Center that is located next to Highway 260 on the Mogollon Rim. According to a Forest Service report that was released last week, two subjects climbed on top of the visitors center, used a branch to break the skylight, then one of the subjects jumped down inside, landing on a glass showcase 16 feet below the skylight, apparently shattering the glass on impact and continued landing inside the showcase.

A garbage bag was removed from the trash can located behind the showcase to collect the stolen items. The glass showcase was then moved slightly as to be directly underneath the skylight to aid in exiting the visitors center with the stolen items.

Those items include: an osprey mount, grey fox with squirrel mount, red-tailed hawk mount, goshawk with Abert’s squirrel mount, four prehistoric ceramic pots, four Zane Grey books, $20 cash from a donation box, and some fossils from the rock display.

The total value of the items taken was $7,730 along with the $2,000 estimated damage to the visitors center.

Mogollon Rim Visitors Center Forest Service volunteer manager Patti Maurer says the wildlife mounts that were taken are protected species and anyone having these mounts should raise red flags to anyone else that sees them.

Patti states, “It was such a waste for everyone involved to have this occur since any attempt to sell these mounts will be fruitless because anyone who has collections of mounted wildlife will know that these are stolen items and would not buy them anyway.”

By law, it is illegal to be in possession of mounted protected species. “We hope to have them returned in a reasonable condition soon to display again in our visitors center.”

Any information regarding to this break-in can be reported to the Black Mesa Ranger Station at (928) 535-7300, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Heber-Overgaard Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Halloween Trunk or Treat for the whole family at the Bison Ranch, Saturday, Oct. 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free hot dogs, hot chocolate, costume contests, candy, prizes, cake walk, car decorating contest, etc. For more information, call (928) 535-5925 or (928) 535-5777 Volunteers also needed.

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