No good deed goes unpunished, or does it?
December 29, 2008
ASPEN ” Carbondale resident Mike Leonard said he should have known buying a brand new snowboard in a dark alley was too good to be true.
“I knew that was a bogus deal,” he said. “It steams me.”
Now, Leonard could possibly be facing a charge of receiving stolen property even though he returned the board to its owner’s father, who reported it stolen on Friday. And for doing what he says was “the right thing to do,” Leonard has retained an attorney.
Leonard read an article in Saturday’s Aspen Times about the theft of a snowboard on Christmas night. The board was taken off the porch at Bob McDonald’s West End home in Aspen. He had bought it for his son Seany, 21, and offered $1,000 for the thief’s identity.
Leonard, 25, said he bought a snowboard matching McDonald’s description from an unidentified man, who approached him Friday night in the alley behind City Market.
“He told me he was moving to California and didn’t want to deal with the board on the plane and asked me if I wanted to buy it for $400,” Leonard said, adding he bought it for $325.
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But once he learned it may have been stolen, Leonard said he wanted to make it right for the McDonalds.
“The kid’s snowboard got stolen on Christmas; that’s not cool,” the Roaring Fork Valley native said. “I wanted to show this guy that this community takes care of its own.”
Leonard contacted McDonald on Saturday after reading the news report and the two men met at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen later that day, when Leonard returned the snowboard. He said he didn’t receive any money from McDonald ” either the reward or the cash he’s out from the bogus sale. McDonald reportedly asked Leonard for his Social Security and driver’s license numbers for tax purposes. Leonard said he didn’t give out any personal information, but his girlfriend did give McDonald her driver’s license number.
Leonard was contacted by Aspen Police Sgt. Chip Seamans, and asked to come in for questioning about the incident and the supposed thief’s description.
Leonard said he called a lawyer on Sunday and was advised not to talk to the police without legal representation.
“This is a pretty f—ed up situation,” he said. “I have to lose a couple thousand dollars for doing the right thing.
Seamans said he will turn the case over to an Aspen police detective and the district attorney’s office. It’s possible charges could be filed against Leonard.
“The elements are certainly right for it,” Seamans said. “The whole thing is suspicious. It’s under investigation.”
McDonald said Saturday he would be happy to buy the snowboard back but what is more important is that he find the identity of the thief and publicize it for all of the community to see.
McDonald told The Times on Friday that his son, a student at the University of Colorado, left town that day “so disillusioned with Aspen” after five days here.
The board is a white Burton 156 with Cartel bindings, which apparently are broken.