A knife, a swastika and a history of harassment | AspenTimes.com

A knife, a swastika and a history of harassment

A local transient with a history that includes harassing women and threatening to blow up an Ohio university was in custody again Thursday after allegedly stalking and pulling a knife on a young woman downtown Aspen.

The behavior from Louis Koleszar — which also included carving the young woman's name and a swastika into a wooden table and driving his van down an alley late at night without headlights — left the 23-year-old waitress and bartender traumatized, according to a restraining order application filed in Pitkin County Court.

"I was hiding in the corner crying when (an Aspen police officer) asked if any of us were dating him," the woman wrote in the application. "We all replied, 'NO!' This guy is barely a customer that we've had to tolerate and that is it."

None of that, however, was the reason Koleszar ended up in the Pitkin County Jail on Thursday.

Fernandez-Ely on Thursday signed the restraining order forbidding Koleszar from coming within 100 yards of the woman and another Wednesday forbidding him from coming within 100 yards of the downtown Aspen bar and restaurant where the initial harassment took place.

But later Thursday, an employee of the bar and restaurant saw Koleszar behind another restaurant 35 yards away and called police, according to an affidavit filed Friday in Pitkin County Court. The employee confronted Koleszar, who allegedly told her, "I know you're right," according to the affidavit.

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He was charged with misdemeanor violation of a protection order Thursday after being charged with misdemeanor harassment Monday for the incident with the restaurant employee.

On Friday in Pitkin County Court, Koleszar repeatedly became riled up trying to explain the situation, which he blamed on police harassment.

"Those people are frightened of me, I don't know why," Koleszar said. "This is insane. I have no knife."

Prosecutor Luisa Berne said Koleszar's sister told her Koleszar has "significant mental health issues" and the sister was concerned that he was a danger to himself and the community.

"We are concerned about public safety," Berne said.

Fernandez-Ely ordered Koleszar held in lieu of a $5,000 bond. If he's released from jail, he must agree to sobriety monitoring and a mental health assessment, she said.

In her restraining order application, the restaurant employee said Koleszar had been "stalking" her for "several weeks" at her job in Aspen and another restaurant in Snowmass Village. On Monday, Koleszar was at the Aspen restaurant at closing time and the staff told him to leave, according to the application.

Instead, Koleszar followed the woman and another co-worker into the alley when they took the trash out and would not leave. As they were talking to two other friends, Koleszar took a 5-inch folding knife with a white handle out of his pocket, prompting one of the women present to suggest he leave again, the application states.

Koleszar then became "agitated" and tried to say something in the 23-year-old woman's ear, though she pushed him away. Koleszar then began kicking things in the alley and "throwing a tantrum," before leaving. However, he returned a few minutes later.

"(Koleszar) drove his van super slow with the headlights off," the woman wrote in the application.

Koleszar then left the van parked down the alley with the music blasting and the doors open until police arrived, though they couldn't find him inside the van, the application states. The officer was looking for Koleszar with a flashlight in the alley when "suddenly he was behind (another female employee)," who called out to the officer, according to the restraining order application.

The next morning, the woman discovered her name had been carved in foot-high letters into one of the wooden tables outside the restaurant, she wrote. A swastika was carved into another table and an umbrella was stabbed, according to her application and another from the restaurant's manager.

Koleszar was arrested in February 2016 after allegedly sexually harassing two women at downtown businesses. He was arrested three times in one week in March 2015 for stealing items from the Aspen Thrift Shop, then later confronted employees there and demanded they drop the charges against him.

Koleszar also was arrested in Kent, Ohio, in June 2013 after getting into a taxi outside the Akron Canton Airport, babbling incoherently about the Twin Towers, then saying, "We are on our way to go bomb Kent State University," according to news reports. He later grabbed the female taxi driver by the neck from behind during the ride, reports state.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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