Aspen homeless shelter to stay open |

Aspen homeless shelter to stay open

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Despite a recent theft, Community United Methodist Church officials in Aspen have decided to allow a temporary homeless shelter to continue to operate until the end of April as planned.

Aspen police still are investigating the alleged April 11 theft of more than $5,000 in office equipment as well as a small vault of priceless historic documents and photos dating back to 1890.

Police suspect one of 10 homeless people staying at the shelter on the night of the theft jimmied the office door and spirited the goods into the night before returning to their designated shelter bed.

Police have a list of overnight guests from that night and said no one was missing at the morning head count.

Police still are collecting evidence and conducting interviews.

Following the incident, Pastor Jane Keener-Quiat said that unless the case was solved, she likely would cancel the shelter program, which was slated to run until the end of the month at the Community Church (from November until the end of March, homeless guests stayed at St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen).

But according to shelter staff, Keener-Quiat has changed her mind and the shelter will remain open.

“I’m sad that it happened, we’re all sad that it happened,” said Nan Sundeen, director of Pitkin County Health and Human Services, of the recent theft.

Sundeen volunteers at the shelter regularly and said shelter regulars were upset that one among them had taken advantage of the church.

“I’m just really glad the church decided to stay open so we don’t further victimize these people,” Sundeen said.

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