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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASENorwood Rainbow Gathering Related Charges Against Oregon Man
Contact: Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer 970-729-2028 email@example.com
August 18, 2016 – (San Miguel County, CO) – A 44 year-old man and self-described member of the “Rainbow Family” is being held in the San Miguel County Jail on felony charges stemming from an admitted motor vehicle theft in Norwood Thursday morning.
The Oregon man told Norwood Marshal Mike Wilkerson that he and his friends were in the area for the upcoming “Rainbow Gathering,” and that when he lost track of his friends after a night of drinking, he tried to hitchhike back to the Rainbow camp, and when he did not find a ride, he stole a vehicle.
The vehicle, reported missing Thursday morning, had a GPS tracking device and was located in Rico along with the subject. “We found him trying to hitchhike back to the ‘Rainbow Family’ camp, and he admitted to us that he stole the vehicle,” Norwood Marshal Wilkerson said.
“I want to thank the Norwood and Rico Marshals for their quick and efficient actions today,” San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters said.
The man has been booked into the San Miguel County Jail with a $2,500 bond, charged with two class five felonies: first degree criminal trespass and aggravated motor vehicle theft, and two misdemeanors: operating an uninsured motor vehicle and driving a motor vehicle on roadway while driver’s license suspended.
“While we expect a few incidents with any festival activity in our county, we are not pleased that these self-proclaimed ‘peace-loving hippies’ are already participating in criminal activity before there event has even started, “ Sheriff Masters said.
“Rainbow Gatherings” are festival-type events held in remote forests all over the world forming temporary “Rainbow Families” of self-described “old hippies” with the shared goal of creating a culture free of capitalism, consumerism, and mass media.
Hundreds of people are expected to gather and camp this Sunday for one week on US Forest Service land outside of Norwood. Dozens have already established campsites in the area and incidents requiring law enforcement have occurred.
“It appears that this group has a few charlatans, thieves and rascals in their midst who are bent on taking advantage of the trusting and generous people of San Miguel County. Unfortunately, I feel compelled to advise our citizens to take the unusual steps of securing their homes and their vehicles until this event is over and this crowd has left our county,” Sheriff Masters said.
Sanitation, safety and environmental issues are of concern as the group is known for excessive drug and alcohol consumption and its own human waste disposal into man-made latrines. The area planned for the event is in USFS jurisdiction and the San Miguel Sheriff has concurrent jurisdiction.
Sheriff Masters says he and his deputies are working closely with the USFS and are ready for any further misconduct.
The San Miguel Sheriff’s Office, located in Telluride, Colorado and established in 1883, serves 7,800 residents and countless visitors across the 1,288 square miles of San Miguel County. Sheriff Bill Masters has been serving as the county’s elected Sheriff since 1980.