Aspen burglary a positive for defendant
A 27-year-old man who broke into the bar where he was employed last fall told a judge Monday the incident was a wake-up call to change his life.
“I moved out here and worked on the mountain for two years and it put me in the wrong spot,” said Travis Brown. “This has completely changed how I see things.”
Brown pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal mischief for throwing a large rock through the glass front door of the Square Grouper on Nov. 6, allegedly to retrieve a W-2 form from the bar’s office, police have said. District Judge Chris Seldin sentenced him to 18 months of probation Monday.
If Brown stays out of trouble for the next 18 months, the felony burglary conviction will be wiped from his record, according to a plea deal he signed with the District Attorney’s Office. He will be on a sobriety-monitoring program and will have to perform 40 hours of community service as part of the sentence.
After police arrived at the bar and found the shattered front door, Brown initially told them he wanted to report the damage before admitting he was the one who threw the rock. Brown appeared intoxicated and told police he was to meet with the bar’s owner, who was going to loan him $200 so he could get home to Florida.
However, Brown also told police he broke the glass door and kicked in the office door inside so he could retrieve the tax form, police have said.
Brown told police he felt bad about breaking the door and started to clean up the mess, according to police.
“This is a pretty good example of drunken stupidity,” Seldin said.
The owner of the Square Grouper said in January he did not want anything bad to happen to Brown, prosecutor Sarah Oszczakiewicz said Monday.
Molly Owens, Brown’s public defender, said alcohol was a contributing factor to what happened that morning at the bar. Brown is now gainfully employed and leads a simple, sober life, she said.
Brown said that going through the consequences of his behavior has been difficult but worthwhile because he no longer goes out partying every night.
“All this has been good for me,” he said, before apologizing for his actions.
In other court news Monday:
A 22-year-old local transient will spend the next two years on probation after pleading guilty to felony trespassing of a car.
As part of a plea deal, if Joseph Watkins does not commit new crimes during the probationary period, the felony conviction will be wiped from his record.
“It’s a big deal to have a felony conviction on your record,” Seldin said. “You don’t want that weight on your shoulders the rest of your life.”
Watkins was initially charged with both felony theft and felony trespassing after a local business owner reported her vehicle stolen from an alley in the downtown core area. The car was found in the parking lot of the Health and Human Services building on Castle Creek Road, along with a receipt from a local marijuana dispensary.
Police were able to identify Watkins from surveillance video at the dispensary.
Watkins will be on a sobriety-monitoring program and have to serve 40 hours of community service.
Watkins apologized for his actions Monday and said being homeless led him into desperate situations.
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Alex Rager believes that the search for affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley can sometimes boil down to luck and timing. “When you least expect it and when you most need it is when things happen,” she said.