Aspen man faces felony counts

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Nathan Benner

ASPEN ” An Aspen man was charged Friday with two felonies in connection with the alleged break-in of a local pharmacy, a crime his roommate was later arrested for and charged with committing.

Nathan Benner, 20, is accused of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and unlawful use of a schedule II controlled substance. He faces more than six years in prison if convicted as charged, based on sentencing guidelines.

Benner is to appear Monday in Pitkin County District Court. He is free on $7,500 bond, authorities said.

Aspen police arrested Benner on April 22. The arrest happened one week after Benner’s roommate, Daniel Grine, was taken into custody for allegedly breaking into Tom’s Pharmacy and taking about $30,000 in medication and narcotics.

The controlled substance Benner is accused of possessing is believed to have come from the pharmacy. The substance was not disclosed.

Grine faces a number of felony charges. The counts range from first-degree burglary to theft of $20,000 or more. He was charged earlier this week.

The first-degree burglary count carries a potential penalty of 48 years in prison. The 23-year-old Grine was being held on $65,000 bond at Pitkin County jail.

Grine was arrested about 12:30 a.m. April 15 at his Aspen Village home, said Aspen police officer Matt Burg. Authorities acted after receiving a tip from the public.

A search of the home at 57 Bear Trail “resulted in the seizure of approximately 75 bottles and boxes of prescription drugs valued at approximately $30,000,” according to an affidavit filed with the court. Burg wrote the affidavit.

The drugs were apparently found inside a green backpack that belonged to Grine. An Apple iPod and Apple Mac Book laptop were also found at the premises.

The electronic gear was allegedly stolen from Belly up Aspen a few days earlier. The gear was valued at about $2,500. He is a suspect in that case, as well.

Grine is to appear Monday in Pitkin County District Court.