A beloved Airstream camper stolen from the Dolores River Campground has been recovered and is back home.
The restored 1953 Airstream Flying Cloud decked out in 1950s décor is a popular rental at the Dolores River Campground, owned by Billy and Lainey Beyhan.
The couple was shocked when they discovered the morning of Aug. 12 that their favorite rental had disappeared. The 19-foot classic camper trailer was unoccupied when it was hitched to a vehicle and stolen late at night as campers slept nearby.
“I thought it was maybe a joke at first, then devastation hit when I realized what happened,” said Billy Beyhan.
But a social media blast by the Beyhans and the well-connected Airstream community alerted a California dealer who had just purchased the camper from a dubious seller from Cortez.
Jerod Saiz, a California vintage trailer dealer, saw a Facebook post about the stolen Airstream from Dolores and contacted the owners.
He phoned the Beyhans on Aug. 15 and told them he had their camper in San Pedro California, according to the Montezuma County incident report.
“We are so grateful and thankful for his honesty,” said Beyhan, who drove to California to retrieve the “Flying Cloud” Airstream home.
After interviewing Saiz, suspect Elizabeth Ann Rogers, of Cortez, was identified, according to the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
Rogers was arrested and jailed last week on criminal charges in the case, said county Sheriff Steve Nowlin. She has an appearance on bond hearing Sept. 22.
According to the incident report, on Aug. 12, at 12:04 a.m. – the night it went missing – Rogers allegedly contacted Saiz about an Airstream trailer she had for sale.
Rogers said she had the title and that she had been given the trailer by a woman named “Maureen” as payment for a debt.
Saiz met Rogers at an address in Cortez the next day then followed her and another man to a residence south of Durango where the stolen Airstream was located, according to the report.
Rogers agreed to sell it to Saiz for $7,500, according to the report. But Rogers could not produce the title and said she would send it to him later.
When he saw the Facebook post days later that the Airstream he bought was stolen property, Saiz demanded Rogers refund the money, and she wired him $4,741.
When the Beyhans picked up their Airstream in San Pedro, California, it was in decent condition, although a window had been broken and some of the 1950s décor was missing.
It is now back in operation as a rental, and with a new hitch lock. The campground also plans to install security cameras.
The couple spent $3,000 restoring it, and it was recently appraised for $25,000. They gave Saiz a $1,000 reward.
“The power of social media helped to bring it back,” Billy Beyhan said.