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Police are currently invesitgating who snowboarded down the Open Cut in Lead. The snowboarder started at the top and snowboarded until he reached the fence, where he got stuck and hiked out through the throat of the canyon. (Amanda Friar/Journal staff)


Lead police may be hot on the trail of a snowboarder who apparently took a run recently down the Open Cut at the Homestake Mine.

Police Chief John Wainman said Wednesday that his department has a lead in the case and a request for warrants could be made to the Lawrence County State's Attorney's Office by the end of the week.

"It's an awful thing to do," he said. "One of the reasons we closed that open pit was because of unstable conditions. We don't want kids getting any ideas."

A criminal trespassing conviction brings a maximum sentence of a $1,000 fine, a year in jail, or both.

Todd Duex, closure manager for Homestake Mine, said rock slides happen frequently at the Open Cut, especially during the winter months when the ground is moist and unstable.

"There are a lot of places where they could've gone down, and they would've been killed or hurt," he said of the snowboarding scofflaw. "There are other conditions that could've been deadly."

The mining company maintains a fence around the now closed pit, but a tall snow bank apparently allowed the snowboarder to climb over it and make the run down the steep and rugged terrain.

"It really isn't safe, so I'm glad they made it down and out of there," Duex said.

Duex said he received an e-mail around 7:15 a.m. on Feb. 9 from a resident who lives near the Open Cut and was wondering who was walking by her house. Duex said he thought it might somebody out hiking until he received a phone call around 9:30 a.m. from a business owner who said she saw tracks going down the side of the canyon.

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That's when he decided to call the police department.

The city, meanwhile, is taking steps to keep the Open Pit off limits to future snowboarders.

City administrator Mike Stahl said the city removed the snow bank that had covered the fence and it plans to improve security in the area.

"It's just some crazy kids who thought they'd get away with something, and they did," Stahl said.


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