Glenwood robbery suspect worked at hotel that was also robbed
December 30, 2008
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The suspect in a Dec. 15 Glenwood Springs bank robbery used to work at the Ramada Inn that was robbed more than a month ago.
Manager Jason Wood said the suspect, Jeffrey Smith, worked at the Ramada in Glenwood as a night auditor for a little more than a year until getting fired in the summer for not showing up to work two times.
Wood said Smith was a good employee until he missed work.
“He was a good kid,” he said. “I liked him.”
The Ramada Inn was hit by an armed robbery shortly before Thanksgiving. Wood said it was around 3 a.m. or later. A white man with a handgun, wearing a mask, came in and told the clerk to lie down while he went and took what money he could find, Wood said.
“We were pretty sure that (Smith) might have had something to do with it just because he knew where all the places were that money was kept,” Wood said. “We told police to look at him as a possible suspect, but nothing came of that.”
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Wood said Smith was the only former employee who matched the clerk’s description of a tall, skinny, white male. He said the robber was wearing a mask and gloves.
Wood said police took statements from Ramada employees the next morning. When the Alpine Bank in West Glenwood Springs was robbed Dec. 15, Wood said, Ramada employees told police that might also have been Smith.
Police Chief Terry Wilson said he couldn’t comment on Wood’s statements because the case is still under investigation.
Glenwood Springs police said last week that Smith, 27, of Glenwood Springs, was identified as the bank robbery suspect and was arrested Dec. 22 in Las Vegas on suspicion of federal bank robbery charges and parole violation. Details of the robbery and what led to the arrest weren’t released.
Smith graduated from Glenwood Springs High School in 2000 and entered guilty pleas in two prior felony theft cases in Garfield County, in 2003 and 2004. He received jail time and terms to probation and later community corrections. He violated probation multiple times. He has a pattern of gambling addiction and stealing to support it, according to letters to judges from Smith and his family and friends.
In January 2007, Garfield County Assessor John Gorman and his wife Susan wrote a letter to a judge asking for rehabilitation for Smith instead of prison time.
The Gormans said they became acquainted with Smith through a real estate transaction and wanted to try and help him with some of his past problems.
Smith referred to the Gormans as his “godparents” in one letter and called his gambling a “disgusting addiction.”
Smith was accepted into a Project Turnabout treatment center in Minnesota for gambling addiction in 2005. He eventually received a two-year prison sentence in February 2007.
John Gorman said the gambling addiction had a powerful influence over Smith.
“He’s one of the most sensitive, gentle, caring people you could imagine. It’s almost Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when whatever it is that kicks in kicks in.”