Aspen pot receipt leads to theft arrest
December 5, 2016
A receipt from a local marijuana dispensary left inside a stolen car led to the arrest Sunday of a 21-year-old local transient.
Joseph Watkins was charged with felony theft and felony trespassing for allegedly stealing the car. District Judge Chris Seldin allowed Watkins out of jail Monday on a $7,500 personal recognizance bond, meaning he will owe the court that amount if he fails to show up for future court dates.
A prosecutor objected to a personal recognizance bond because Watkins is currently on probation in California for possession of a stolen vehicle and was convicted of trespassing in Glenwood Springs earlier this year.
The case began about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, when a downtown business owner reported her 2015 Toyota Rav4 missing from her parking spot behind the business, according to an affidavit filed in Aspen District Court. The car was unlocked with the car key "hidden" under the front seat, the affidavit states.
An officer found the car the next morning parked in the Pitkin County Health and Human Services parking lot across from Aspen Valley Hospital. The county's homeless shelter is located at the Health and Human Services building.
An Aspen police officer followed a set of boot prints from the driver's side of the stolen vehicle across the parking lot to a nearby bus stop, according to the affidavit. Inside the car, officers found a receipt from the Green Dragon marijuana dispensary, a marijuana pipe, a marijuana container, two lighters, a white rag, a pair of black sunglasses and an English language dictionary that did not belong to the owners of the car, the affidavit states.
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Also, officers found that a wallet containing credit cards and identification, as well as a garage remote, a mailbox key, the car key and half a tank of gas were missing from the car, according to the affidavit.
Officers went to Green Dragon dispensary on Sunday morning, where they recognized Watkins on surveillance video buying marijuana at the time stamped on the receipt, according to the affidavit.
Officers found Watkins at Local's Corner on Sunday afternoon, and he admitted leaving the receipt in the vehicle. However, he told officers a man he thought was named "Matt" gave him a ride in the stolen vehicle.
Watkins was arrested after an officer noticed the boots he was wearing matched the boot prints in the snow at the Health and Human Services parking lot, the affidavit states. Watkins said "Matt" had given him the boots Saturday morning, according to the affidavit.
Watkins also was arrested Nov. 21 by Aspen police for trespassing.