While Caroline Rotich was being honored Monday with a parade through downtown Santa Fe for winning the 2015 Boston Marathon elite women’s division, a burglar was breaking into her car near the start of the parade route.
Around the time that Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales was telling the Kenyan-born Santa Fe resident that, “This will always be your home,” the culprit was making off with her purse, which police said contained an unspecified amount of cash, some credit cards and her driver’s license.
Rotich, who gained widespread fame by winning the April 20 running competition in Boston, had left her car parked at Fort Marcy Recreation Complex, 490 Bishops Lodge Road, where the parade started at 4 p.m. with Rotich waving to well-wishers from the front seat of a vintage red fire engine.
Police spokeswoman Lt. Andrea Dobyns said the thief smashed a window and stole the purse sometime between 4 and 5:30 p.m. The official parade schedule had called for the event to end at 6 p.m. at the Santa Fe Plaza.
“It’s kind of a bummer that this happened,” said Ryan Bolton, Rotich’s coach, who was with her when she found that her vehicle had been burglarized. “She just has so much on her plate right now that she thought about the logistics, like cancelling her credit cards.”
Said Dobyns, “It was very unfortunate. We hope to catch the person that did this. Caroline is part of our Santa Fe family and we hate to see this happen to anyone.”
Rotich for the past eight years has lived and trained in Santa Fe, where she has taken time to help encourage young people in the area to get out and run.
Santa Fe police, who have repeatedly issued warnings about leaving valuables in parked cars, have reported that during the first three quarters of last year the city had an average of 35 auto burglaries a month.
Contact Uriel J. Garcia at 986-3062 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ujohnnyg.