OGDEN -- Police are looking for a thief who may have hit rock-climbing stores along the Wasatch Front in the past few weeks.
Shad Burnham, shop manager of the Front Climbing Club, 225 20th St., believes the same man has burglarized the store as much as twice in the past two weeks.
A man stole some ice screws from behind a counter while an employee was swamped with customers two weeks ago. Then, last week, a man broke into the store and stole climbing equipment, Burnham said. He cannot conclusively say from the footage if they are the same man, but suspect they might be.
Before the thefts, the first man had been in the store asking questions about equipment that was later stolen.
Burnham estimates the total loss at $2,000.
The same type of theft occurred in Salt Lake City and Orem, he said.
"There have been positive IDs from multiple shop owners now, and it was interesting, no one had realized this was connected until Monday night, when I started calling around," Burnham said.
Three weeks ago, a man burglarized Hansen Mountaineering, 1799 N. State St., in Orem, after hours.
The night before the burglary, a man had been in the store asking about expensive climbing equipment, said manager Brett Francis. When Francis went outside to throw away some garbage, he saw the man walking around the sides and back of his store.
Francis said when he was alerted by police the morning after the burglary, he immediately thought of the "suspicious character."
Between the stolen equipment and repairs to the windows and door, Francis estimates the burglary cost the store between $8,000 and $9,000.
When Burnham started calling other climbing stores Monday, Francis realized his store wasn't the only one hit.
"I recognized the guy, based on the pictures (Burnham) had," he said.
On his Facebook profile, Burnham has posted a surveillance photo of the suspect: a white man with facial hair, standing a little taller than 6 feet and weighing 210 pounds.
International Mountain Equipment Inc. in Salt Lake City was also hit, Burnham said.
"He was almost definitely the same guy. He was very specific about what he was looking at, tried to steal stuff during business hours -- but they spooked him off and (he winds up) breaking in later," he said.
Burnham said other shops he got in touch with said they recognized the suspect but that he had not stolen from them.
Burnham knows there is no guarantee of recovering the stolen goods. Even if the equipment were recovered, the shop would not be able to sell it again, he said.
But Burnham hopes passing along information about the suspect will help prevent future thefts and perhaps will lead to the suspect's arrest.
Anyone with information can call their local police department.