June 20, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 24

400 chocolate chip cookies pinched

A thief with an apparent large appetite hit the parade grounds last Thursday, making off with 400 chocolate chip cookies and a tub of dinner rolls intended for participants in the Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay.

So far, it seems like the perfect crime. “At this point we don’t have any suspects or leads or anything. You would think that it wasn’t someone who was hungry and opportunistic. You’d think it was somebody who had a plan for the cookies,” said interim police chief Simon Ford.

The snacks were being housed in the commercial kitchen owned by the Halsingland Hotel on the parade grounds in Fort Seward, said hotel owner Jeff Butcher. Butcher said while the total value of the goods was probably $75, the financial loss is not as unsettling as the loss of security.

“The fact that it’s a building that can be easily broken into and fairly unattended is maybe not a favorable thing from where I sit,” he said.

Groundskeeper Philip Curtis discovered the building had been broken into and sat out patrolling the area for the following two nights. “There was like an army of BMX (biker) teenagers over there circling that place like sharks,” Curtis said.

Curtis speculated someone might have broken into the building hoping to find something more worthwhile, but finding nothing, took the cookies as a consolation prize. “I was thinking it was because someone knew he puts beer in there. He stores beer out there right before the festivals, so maybe somebody knew he stores it out there and was trying to get it,” Curtis said.

Butcher said a cushion belonging to a 10-year-old chair in the hotel’s lobby also went missing that weekend. Curtis pointed to the bike racers. “One of those crazy bike people came in here and snatched it for their tent,” Curtis said.

The bike race participants have always been generally benign, Butcher said. “They’re a fairly good group, but it only takes one.”

Ford said the cookie thief has been harder to track than he anticipated. “We got some pretty good tips on our Facebook page. They said, ‘Follow the crumbs.’ They said, ‘Look for blue, hairy monsters with googly eyes.’ They said, ‘Look for people buying large quantities of milk.’ So it’s been pretty helpful, but so far it’s still an unsolved mystery.”

Ford is still mulling over possible motives. “Another thing that entered my mind: It’s the season where people can run bait stations for black bear hunting, and 400 chocolate chip cookies would be really good bear bait. But I don’t know how you’d even begin to investigate that, unless the troopers bumbled into it or something.”

Butcher’s wife Shannon replenished the cookie supply in time for Saturday’s relay dinner.