By Don Nelson
The Winthrop Marshal’s Office is investigating a Jan. 15 burglary at the Lost River Winery tasting room on Highway 20 that resulted in the loss of about $3,000 in cash.
Lost River’s marketing director, Liam Doyle, said that during the night someone broke a window panel on the tasting room’s front door, unlocked the door, then picked the lock on a cash drawer. Doyle said it didn’t appear that any wine was taken, there were no signs of vandalism, and the cash drawer lock was not “jimmied” or damaged. “There was no evidence of prying,” he said.
The burglary was discovered at about 9 a.m. Thursday (Jan. 9), Doyle said. Interim Marshal Ken Bajema investigated tire tread marks and footprints in the tasting room’s parking lot that may be related to the crime, Doyle said.
Bajema said Tuesday (Jan. 14) that the investigation is continuing. He speculated that it’s likely the burglary was done by someone local, and urged anyone who might have information, or hears or observes anything that might be helpful, to contact him at 996-2160.
“It’s a small valley,” Bajema said. “Our hope is that people will talk.”
Bajema added that such incidents are rare in Winthrop, but that they seem to be more likely to occur when fewer officers are on duty. Winthrop’s three-person police department is down to one — Bajema — since the recent resignations of Marshal David Dahlstrom and deputy Seth Carlson.
Doyle said the tasting room has a security system but that it was not operating because it needed new batteries. Because no alarms were tripped, Doyle said, “they [the burglar or burglars] had all the time in the world.”
“It was a surprise,” Doyle said of the break-in, “because it doesn’t happen very often.”
Doyle said it’s important “to let people know so they can be heads up … if we are all on our toes, we can maybe prevent” such incidents.
The winery is offering a $300 reward for information that leads to the successful prosecution of those responsible for the break-in.
Insurance will cover some of the loss, Doyle said. The tasting room is being repaired and will be open during its regular hours, 11 a.m. — 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays.