BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – In just two days thieves managed to steal fishing rods from nine stores totaling $12,000.
The fishing supply stores hit were all over the Denver metro area — from Boulder to Parker, and Highlands Ranch to Longmont. All the thefts happened while the businesses were open for business.
In surveillance video from one of the thefts, the thieves wore large coats, grabbed the fly rods from the rack, disassembled them and them stuffed them inside of their coats and walked right out the front door.
It’s been just over a year since the shoplifting incident at Rocky Mountain Angler, but store manager Randy Hicks remembers it like it was yesterday. He was working alone when four suspects came in and stole expensive fishing rods right from under his nose.
“They had on real long down coats, and unbeknownst to me when I was over here showing flies to the guys, trying to get them pumped up on fishing and how good it is around here, the ladies took the rods and slid them up their coats,” Hicks said.
The next morning Hicks realized the rods were missing. They weren’t the only store that was hit.
“We started calling some of the other fly shops in town and we called one to the south down here, Charlie’s Fly Box, and they had had the same thing happen to them just one chunk of time earlier in the day,” Hicks said.
Surveillance video from another shop caught three of the suspects in action. The women removed the fishing rods, quickly disassembled them, and hid them in their coats. Another man pretended to browse while another male suspect off camera distracted the store employee.
“They’re part of a professional ring of thieves who travel not only to Colorado, but throughout the country,” Detective Tom Dowd with the Boulder Police Department said.
Boulder police believe one of the women in the video is 34-year-old Sylvia Dytlow. She was arrested in Chicago. Police believe they were stealing the rods to do more than just fish.
“They’re either selling them in the Chicago metro area, perhaps even shipping some items back to Europe,” Dowd said.
Though his rods haven’t been recovered, Hicks is using this experience as a learning lesson.
“I guess you’ve just got to, like you know, stay turned, stay facing them and keep your eye on them,” he said.
Dytlow is from Chicago and Boulder police believe that’s where the other three suspects are from as well. It was difficult to find her because she’s polish and had several different aliases.
Boulder police are working with Chicago police to find the other three suspects.
Police say the suspects got away in a maroon minivan with an Illinois license plate.
Dytlow is due in court March 5.