New figures confirm that thieves preying on Waldo Canyon Fire evacuees burglarized 37 homes and 28 vehicles, Colorado Springs police said Wednesday.
An anonymous donor has provided a $50,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of a person involved in the burglaries. Tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at 719-385-2222.
Police said the 37 home burglaries in the fire area happened between June 23 and July 3.
Thieves also targeted 28 evacuees' vehicles, which were often packed with valuables and parked at hotels and evacuation shelters, police said. The auto burglaries happened between June 23 and July 4.
El Paso County District Attorney Dan May said a first burglary charge can carry a prison sentence of up to 24 years. Each additional burglary charge can add another 24 years.
"I can assure the people of the Pikes Peak region that whenever we have probable cause to charge, we will be filing the maximum charges," May said. "We will be extremely tough on these cases."
The most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, the Waldo Canyon Fire left two people dead, destroyed 356 homes and burned 18,247 acres in the Pike National Forest and in Colorado Springs.
The fire erupted on June 23, 3 miles west of Colorado Springs. Three days later, it exploded eastward into the city, leveling several Colorado Springs neighborhoods.
Evacuations peaked at 32,000 residents on June 27.
The fire was declared fully contained on Tuesday.
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