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Arapahoe Basin serial ski thief sentenced to jail after pleading guilty

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Posted at 2:56 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 16:56:50-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — A man who pled guilty to stealing skis valued between $5,00-$20,000 from skiers at Arapahoe Basin last year was sentenced Wednesday in a Summit County courtroom to 30 days in jail.

Jason Kawaguchi, 40, of Boulder, pled guilty to felony theft in May for stealing numerous skis from the Summit County resort in June 2019. In his plea, Kawaguchi also admitted to stealing numerous skis from Eldora Mountain ski area in Boulder County.

During a search of his home, authorities located 74 pairs of skis and 42 pairs of ski poles with an estimated value of $51,378 that had been stolen from multiple ski resorts, according to a release from the Office of the District Attorney--Fifth Judicial District.

In addition to the 30-day jail sentence, Kawaguchi was given three years probation and must attend cognitive behavioral therapy.

Kawaguchi was arrested in June of last year after Summit County deputies reviewed surveillance video showing the 40-year-old Boulder man steal a set of skis from Arapahoe Basin. Deputies also observed Kawaguchi shuttling ski gear between the base lodge and his truck in the parking lot. An A-Basin employee contacted the sheriff’s office earlier that day after the employee recognized Kawaguchi's description.

According to the release, “Kawaguchi would leave an empty ski bag (with another empty one inside it) behind a food stand on the premises, go ski for a while and leave his old skis at a different location. He would then stake out the ski racks near the lodge, select a pair of skis from the rack and place them in the previously stashed empty ski bag to take to his vehicle. Then, he would come back and retrieve his skis. The defendant was viewed on video surveillance on multiple days stealing skis. Multiple thefts had been reported to Arapahoe Basin in May and June, 2019, including 4 thefts in one day.”