D.A. drops the ball on vagrant poacher | AspenTimes.com

D.A. drops the ball on vagrant poacher

We all live in a beautiful part of the world, and we feel as though we are in an area safe from many of the forces people deal with in the city.

Recently I went to visit a rental home I own with a business partner to discover that someone had broken in and was living in our home for more than three days. After calling authorities, the perpetrator attempted to flee. Through the good work of a combination of the Pitkin County sheriff and the Aspen police, this person was apprehended. Multiple charges were filed against the individual. Further good work by the authorities determined that he was a transient, with a record and an arrest warrant from another state. There were numerous civil damages to the property which was mentioned right away to authorities.

This is a most dangerous and offensive crime in this community when you account for the percentage of unoccupied homes in the valley and how much we count on the system to keep us safe. As residents, it strikes against the very core of what we all live for and what we are all about.

On comes the District Attorney's Office. Although this seems like a situation that a community like ours would take very seriously, the defendant — out of state, with a record and an outstanding warrant — was given a personal recognizance bond and allowed to walk out the door with no bail.

Subsequent to that, the defendant pleaded down and was charged $208 in court costs and sentenced to time served (two days, Saturday and Sunday). No restitution was required of the defendant for his damages to our premises. Is this the message you want the District Attorney's Office to convey to the public? Is this how you want justice to occur when your premises are violated?

So the message from the district attorney to the community is clear: First, to property owners and taxpaying citizens, protect yourself from harm because the D.A. has no interest in keeping the peace and keeping crime out of our town. Second, if you can't find a place to stay, just break in and stay anywhere. The authorities might get you, but the D.A. will make it cheaper than staying in a hotel!

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Peter Fornell

Aspen

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