Aspen police looking for suspects in Little Nell jewelry theft; items valued at $800k, sources say |

Aspen police looking for suspects in Little Nell jewelry theft; items valued at $800k, sources say

The Piranesi Jewelry case, bottom left, is empty Friday after three men stole gold and diamond jewelry from the display case near the front door of The Little Nell hotel in Aspen.
Carolyn Sackariason / The Aspen Times

Aspen police are looking for three male suspects after authorities received a report of a jewelry theft Friday afternoon at The Little Nell Hotel.

Multiple sources said the stolen items are worth over $800,000.

The diamond and 18-karat gold jewelry includes necklaces and other items that were taken from a hotel lobby display case rented by Piranesi Jewelry, which has a storefront at 525 E. Cooper Ave.

Surveillance video shows three men with facial hair, wearing stocking or baseball caps and puffy coats standing in front of the vitrine where several retailers have glass cases displaying their merchandise.

Two of the men were positioned on either side of the Piranesi display while the third one went in the middle of them and took the jewelry.

“It was a little lock … a not very secure case and they reached in and grabbed the merchandise,” Aspen police officer Kirk Wheatley said Friday evening.

Two of the men are described in their 20s with goatees; the third one is older with a beard.

“We do have some leads that we are following up on,” Wheatley said.

He added that the men had been in the hotel earlier Friday likely casing the place.

Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn said the APD received a call from an individual at 1:10 p.m. reporting that the theft occurred 10 minutes prior.

Tina Taylor, who works at Piranesi, said she couldn’t provide many details because it’s an active investigation.

“We are very sad that it happened,” she said, adding that Piranesi has rented a case for 20 years in the Little Nell. “We hope they catch the suspects and find our jewelry.”

Veronica Sumner, also an employee at the store, said nothing like this has ever happened before. Piranesi has had storefront in Aspen for over 30 years.

On Friday evening, Sumner had the retail store locked during business hours and was opening the door for customers. An overnight security guard had just reported for duty.

Jonathan Fillman, general manager for the Little Nell, said it was a brazen act.

“The good news is that we captured them on camera,” he said. “We have checked the other locks and they are secure. Everything is in working order.”

He commended the APD for its response and work on the investigation.

“I’m just glad no one got hurt,” Fillman said.