SAGUACHE— A burglary at the Saguache Post Office last week could have prevented County Clerk and Recorder Carla Gomez from collecting her final round of mail-in ballots before the 7 p.m. deadline marking the end of Election Day last Tuesday.
According to a report from Colorado Public Radio (CPR), even though the post office was closed all day for the investigation, Gomez was still able to collect the remaining six mail-in ballots from law enforcement officials and continue the ballot count without further concern.
Secretary of State officials were notified of the burglary and Secretary of State Wayne Williams was prepared to grant Gomez an extension on the 7 p.m. deadline if necessary.
When Saguache postal driver Ronald Moore arrived for work the morning of Nov. 7, he was greeted by broken glass and an open window, according to a Saguache Sheriff’s Office report. Deputy Samuel Olsen arrived on the scene and discovered a rock had been thrown through a rear window to access the post office.
Olsen gathered blood evidence from the window frame to help identify the suspect. Several letters and packages inside the post office were torn open and other mail items had been thrown around the inside of the post office. An unopened letter was discovered in the post office parking lot. A hair sample also was retrieved as well as a cigarette butt outside behind a trashcan.
Postmaster Betsy Brockington later helped Olsen compile a list of items that might be missing. One of these was the keys to the building.
A witness reported seeing two young men with dark hoodies walking toward the post office later in the evening Nov. 6. He also reported a screen was lying in a nearby alley and the sheriff’s office determined the screen was the same size as that removed from the post office window.
The Saguache Sheriff’s Office notified postal investigator L.G. Saenz of the break-in and evidence collected at the scene was sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for analysis. The investigation is ongoing.
A Secretary of State staffer commented he believed this is the first time such an incident has happened on Election Day in Colorado, CPR reported.