Alleged Carl’s burglar in jail | AspenTimes.com

Alleged Carl’s burglar in jail

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Police have arrested a man suspected of breaking into Carl’s Pharmacy a year ago – the same man who was convicted of burglarizing two Aspen convenience stores in November.

James Herlong, 24, was arrested in Saluda, S.C., and charged in the theft of pills and cash from the local pharmacy. He is currently on probation for burglarizing both the Aspen Store and Main Street Gas.

A tip from a confidential source led to the arrest, police said. According to an affidavit prepared by Aspen Police Detective Jim Crowley, a woman in South Carolina called police there to report that her son had information about a burglary in Aspen.

On condition of anonymity, the woman’s son told South Carolina authorities he had been contacted by Herlong and two others, Christopher Shane Miller and Amy Adams, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the beginning of May 2001. He said Herlong and Miller were trying to sell some prescription drugs that were stolen from Carl’s in Aspen.

That crime was reported on April 29, 2001. According to Crowley’s affidavit, the suspect entered the store through a fiberglass skylight in the roof and exited by breaking a glass door on the store’s west side. A pharmacist estimated that approximately $2,000 worth of pills were taken from the store, including lithium and Valium tablets.

Besides the drugs, $986 in cash was stolen from the pharmacy’s cash drawers.

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Crowley traveled to Saluda, S.C., a week ago and interviewed both suspects and the confidential informant. According to the police affidavit, Adams is Miller’s girlfriend and worked at Carl’s from the beginning of April until the day after the burglary occurred.

She denies any knowledge of the crime and told Crowley that both Miller and Herlong were working for Apex Security in Aspen the night of the burglary.

According to the arrest warrant, the informant told Crowley he met Herlong, Miller and Adams in a Myrtle Beach hotel room sometime just after Easter of 2001. He said Miller showed him pills packaged in eight gallon-sized Ziploc bags and told him that Herlong was the person who went into the skylight to get into Carl’s.

The informant said Miller told him the rope Herlong climbed down into the store on was so short he could not reach it to get back out and that Herlong had to throw something through a locked glass door to leave. Miller allegedly told the informant that Herlong threw his clothes into a river in Aspen, and he, Herlong and Adams left Aspen the next day, April 30, 2001.

Last Friday, Miller allegedly told Crowley that Herlong committed the burglary by himself, although he told Miller about the crime. Miller said Herlong hurt his leg in February of that year and became “hooked” on pain killers.

He allegedly said his friend talked about “doing” the burglary for a couple of weeks, “but no one believed that he would actually do it.”

Herlong is currently being held in the Saluda County Jail in South Carolina on $50,000 bail. He is charged with second-degree burglary of controlled substances, a class-three felony, and theft, a class-four felony. Crowley said Herlong will be transported to the Pitkin County Jail.

As for Miller and Adams, Crowley said his investigation into the crime is ongoing, and there may be further charges. The two have already been arrested and charged with misprision of a felony, or obstruction of a criminal investigation for allegedly hiding their own involvement in the crime.

Crowley said without the help of the informant, the investigation may not have gone anywhere.

“The investigation has continued since the burglary until now, but we had not developed any further leads until the information came from the informant,” he said.

When Herlong was arrested last November for the convenience store burglaries, police said he had been laid off from his job working at both of the stores one week prior to the crimes. Police believe after the pharmacy burglary, Herlong returned to South Carolina for the summer season and then came back to Aspen for the 2001-02 winter season, when he burglarized the convenience stores.