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David O Willams 
Vail: world-class criminals only, please
Earth surfers riding a crime wave or just snow-bored snowboarders?
By David O. Williams

March 20, 2007 — The motivations and ramifications of a pair of antipodean, knuckle-dragging knuckleheads allegedly knocking off a bank with BB guns and escaping up the Vista Bahn chairlift a couple of skis seasons ago had me wondering since then: what the hell were these guys thinking?

The Blunder from Down Under earned Luke Carroll and Anthony Prince dubious celebrity status in Australia, where the tabloids labeled them ďDumb and Dumber.Ē

Lessons learned from the March of í05 heist: if youíre going to rob a bank in a ski town, donít hit one you frequented all season as a customer (bank employees recognized the masked banditsí voices); donít get arrested earlier in the season for shooting paintballs at condo windows (Vail Police sent their mug shots to the Transportation Security Administration); and donít try to fly out of Denver International Airport the next day (TSA officials nabbed the two 19-year-olds with some of the $123,000 still on them).

Better yet, why ruin a perfectly epic ski season with a stint in the federal pen anyway?

Iím reminded of the time my wife and I took delivery of a pizza at our Vail condo only to have the driver burst back through our door a moment later demanding to use the phone. Two snowboarders with a sawed-off shotgun robbed him in our parking lot.

Ever the intrepid reporters for the local rag, we whipped out notepads while the poor pizza man fed all the details to the cops, who pounced on the perps by popping their tires during a high-speed chase on I-70.

Now before all of you snowboarders (at least the few of you who can write) flood my server with hate email accusing me of perpetuating stereotypes, allow me to point out of few facts:

(a.) I wrote the first story ever on the Snowboard Outreach Society (a positive article, at least according to founder Arn Menconi); (b.) random on-mountain crimes involving pellet pistols are not the sole domain of snowboarders (also that March, a Vail ski instructor told police he was shot by a skier wielding a BB gun from the chairlift); and (c.) I plan to take up your sport this season (so kiss its coolness goodbye).

Whatís troubling to me isnít the whole skier-versus-snowboarder struggle for supremacy, nor am I overly concerned about rampaging Aussies (it is a former penal colony, after all). What I canít figure out is what causes a ski/snowboard bum to go for the big score when weíre all practically born repeating the mantra, ďIím not in this for the money.Ē

Itís all about the skiing or riding, right? But Iím afraid that in this day and age of extreme everything, simply ski bumming for a season in Vail isnít edgy enough. Now, apparently, you have to knock over a bank on your way out of town.

Problem is, weíre a world-class resort and we like our evildoers to be world-class. Our realtors happily welcome white-collar crooks - convicted or merely indicted - such as Bernie Ebbers and Dennis Kozlowski, and celebrity scumbags are OK, too.

Heck, adulterer and accused rapist Kobe Byrant (charges later dropped) put Cordillera on the map, and even O.J. learned to ski here back in the day (now heís too busy hunting for his wifeís killer).

So if youíre a sociopath snowboarder (or skier) planning to spend a season in Vail, remember, go big or go home. Petty larcenists and bungling bank robbers need not apply.



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