CARIBOU — Two local agencies are offering a $500 reward for information relating to the recovery of a snowmobile stolen earlier this week from a Scarborough woman.
“The whole of Aroostook County has an excellent tourism industry in snowmobiling, and we don’t want people shying away thinking it’s not safe up here,” Kirk Tibbetts, executive director of the Caribou Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday.
Aroostook County’s snowmobile trails are rated among the best in the country, and the economically depressed region has worked to promote its winter sports to outdoor enthusiasts.
The Chamber, along with the Caribou Development Corp., is offering the reward.
Terry Whitney of Scarborough had come to Aroostook County with a group of other sledders for a week of snowmobiling. She had finished her first ride late Monday afternoon on her black 1997 Polaris Indy 500 when she and the group stopped for supper at a restaurant on Bennett Drive in Caribou, Tibbetts said.
When the group finished their meal and went outside, Whitney’s sled was gone. Tibbetts said the woman had removed her keys before eating. The snowmobile, which had a previous owner, had about 700 miles on it, Tibbetts said.
The registration number on the temporary stickers was 06035. Tibbetts said the sled may have been hot-wired, or several people could have lifted the heavy sled and hauled it away.
“When we heard about this [Tuesday], a number of members from the Chamber board said, `We have to do something about this,”‘ Tibbetts said.
The biggest concern was the bad publicity that could result from the theft, according to the Chamber executive.
“Bad news travels real fast,” Tibbetts said.
Besides the reward, the Chamber also helped Whitney enjoy the rest of the her week of sledding. Four Seasons Yamaha of Caribou offered the Chamber a special rate to rent Whitney a sled for the rest of the week, Tibbetts said.
“Our slogan is `Caribou Cares,’ and we thought that was in keeping with our slogan,” Tibbetts said.
Whitney, who is staying at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center, was not available Wednesday afternoon for comment on the Chamber’s effort.
She was snowmobiling.