Federal rangers are footing it through the hills of west Carson City this week after two All Terrain Vehicles were spirited away from the U.S. Forest Service office near C Hill last weekend.
Sometime between Friday night and Sunday, thieves cut through a fence surrounding the federal compound and cut the locks off the four-wheel-drive Suzuki Vinsons.
Skid marks on the steep hill leading off the yard indicate the ATVs were running, without the keys, and driven off the property, according to USFS spokesman Franklin Pemberton.
The Forest Service uses the two-year-old ATVs to patrol motorized-vehicle trails in federal public lands, clean up litter, mark trails. When wildfire strikes, they're also used to carry water, fuel and people in and out of the burn area.
The theft "puts a pretty big dent in our ability to get out there and patrol," Pemberton said.
The local Forest Service office has a couple older ATVs that are used as utility vehicles but the two that were stolen were the "workhorses."
Together, the two vehicles were likely worth more than $10,000, Pemberton said.
The Forest Service is offering a $500 award for information leading to the conviction of those involved in the theft.
Pemberton said it shouldn't be hard to spot the vehicles. Either they will have a yellow forest service shield and ranger stickers, or they will have obvious fade marks where the decals have been pulled off; they could also be freshly painted, including on the fenders, where some of the emblems were. If not repainted, the ATVs will be forest green.
"It's pretty conspicuous. They're going to be hard to miss," Pemberton said.
Federal authorities and the Carson City Sheriff's Department are looking into the theft.
Pemberton said anyone with information about the ATVs should call the sheriff's department at 887-2500 or the Forest Service Patrol Captain at 355-5327.
- Contact reporter Cory McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.