By Erika Kar

Crime has been a hot topic in Mazama lately. Back in the spring, there had been some vandalism, graffiti, to be more exact. Then came the thefts. Car prowls, break-ins and thefts at trailheads were being reported as early as June 11, according to this very publication.

However the MethowNet Bulletin Board didn’t start sputtering about the problem until July 1. There was a lot of information posted, along with much conjecture, as well as some suggestions. At the time of this writing, there have been over 3,700 views of the thread on the Bulletin Board. People are interested and concerned. Mazamans don’t want their way of life to be encroached on. Concern is pretty valid.

Word in the community spread quickly and everyone had their eyes peeled for strange happenings. Some people that I spoke with felt guilty that they were suspicious of certain people or vehicles and wanted to ignore their gut. Others wanted to see something, anything, funky so they could call the sheriff.  But regardless of the response to the crime, the overwhelming sentiment is that no one wants it here.

On July 3, a hiker noticed broken windows and slashed tires on a new-ish truck parked at the trailhead near the Tawlks-Foster Suspension Bridge on Goat Creek Road. This astute Mazaman called 911 and then sparks flew.

After the crooks satiated themselves on other people’s property, they apparently needed some gas before heading back over the pass to spend their ill-gotten spoils. They pull into the Mazama Store to gas up just as law enforcement come screaming through the three-way stop. They see the red Pontiac Grand Am, which had previously been identified as the vehicle belonging to the bad guys. According to one eyewitness, “the Sheriff, the Twisp Police Department, the Winthrop Marshall and even Forest Service Law Enforcement all flew to the store and jumped out of their trucks with guns out.” The eyewitness went on to say that the words “exit the vehicle with your hands up!” were actually used, much to the thrill of onlookers.

After the excitement died down and rumors stopped flying, the facts finally became somewhat clear. The three people arrested were from Snohomish County, not from around here. Yes, drugs were a factor and were involved. But what still remains a mystery is why three people from Everett, Lake Stevens and Sultan were coming all the way over here to break into cars. It seems likely that they were coming here because they know someone here. So perhaps we all need to remain vigilant and call law enforcement if we see anything strange or suspicious. Mazama is small, people talk. It is not a good place to hide out or cause problems.

According to Kevin Petty, the Yoda of Mazama, “Just because you think you’re smart, doesn’t mean you are.”