(CBS4) – Ken Cook and Bill Thomas rode into the Aurora impound lot looking for the black box trailer that contained their years of labor.

“That’s our trailer,” said Bill as he drove up. The side door had its latch ripped apart and the door could easily be opened.

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“It’s not the terrible news, but everything in the middle is missing,” said Bill as he peered inside.

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The trailer had been on quite a journey. They had packed it with sections of the 40 x 16 foot train display they called the Slick-X line over two weeks ago. Sometime around May 2, the trailer was stolen from an industrial park storage lot in Watkins. A lock around the hitch was left behind. The men didn’t notice the trailer was stolen until May 8, when Bill went to pick it up. They were getting to bring the display to Cheyenne for the Depot Days celebration at the city’s vintage train depot next weekend. They were counted on every year and a big draw with the large O scale display.

But the thieves who took it drove past the gate in the lot and it made its way to Aurora.

“It was definitely a traffic hazard,” said Dick Eason.

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He called police when the trailer was parked on the road at the entrance to his Lake Shore neighborhood near Tower Road and Iliff Avenue May 2. Police said they had no interest since it had yet to be reported stolen. But the trailer was parked about 3 feet away from the curb and in the way. The police department notified the city’s parking agency, Park Aurora. An enforcement officer left a courtesy notice on it the following day. Then on May 5 and 6 Park Aurora left tickets. Tuesday the 10th Eason realized the trailer was stolen when he saw a CBS4 report about the stolen trailer. But the night before the trailer had been picked up.

“Don’t know if the same people that dropped it picked it up again or if somebody else stole it a second time.”

It was gone again.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said it was asking a company at the industrial site in Watkins for video to see if a truck could be spotted towing it away. But that had yet to be completed Thursday. There was disappointment as the group of about a dozen train enthusiasts waited for another report of the stolen trailer seen again. An Aurora police officer spotted the stolen trailer in the 2500 block of Carson Way Thursday morning and had it towed to the impound lot.

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The display is divided into modules, like sections. And while there is some damage to them they are intact.

“The modules are the important thing. Everything else can be replaced. This is wonderful news,” said Cook.

But missing still are controllers, various supplies and miniature buildings, including a mining building, a grain elevator that was “scratch built” and a police station.

The Slick-X group has had to cancel the appearance at Depot Days, but believes with a lot of labor they can get the display ready to go again and hope to be at an appearance in Estes Park in late summer.

“My first impression is they didn’t know what they were getting,” said Cook.

There are no suspects.

Alan Gionet