Assault probe nets arrest in beauty-products caper
ASPEN – Aspen police used some gumshoe teamwork to finger a local woman for allegedly making off with more than $3,000 in cosmetic items from a fitness club.Police arrested Stacia Anne Quarto on Tuesday but had to connect a few dots to build a case against the 57-year-old transient, who was advised of the charges Wednesday by a district judge.It started Dec. 11 when an employee from the Aspen Club & Spa contacted police to report that an estimated $3,100 worth of beauty products had been stolen from the club. The worker told Officer Casey Ward that he suspected the culprit was a woman who exited through the club’s pool-area door and then drove off in an Infinity sedan, according to an affidavit written by Sgt. Rob Fabrocini, of the Aspen Police Department. Police didn’t gain any traction in the case until Tuesday. That’s when they were called to the Marolt Ranch apartment complex for the report of an assault. There, Officer Ryan Turner saw an idling Infinity parked in a handicapped space with Quarto sitting in the driver’s seat.Turner didn’t suspect Quarto of being involved in the assault and saw her drive away. Shortly later he was approached by the man who had called police to report the assault, the affidavit says. The man told Turner to flag down the driver of the Infiniti, as she had just assaulted him.At approximately 8:19 that night, Turner found the Infinity and Quarto at the Health and Human Services Building on Castle Creek Road, telling her she was accused of assault. Quarto denied the allegation and claimed she was assaulted by a man, causing her to bang her head on a pole.Enter Fabrocini, who was familiar with the Aspen Club burglary. Realizing Quarto’s head injury needed medical treatment, Fabrocini called for an ambulance to transport her to the hospital, less than a quarter of a mile away. Fabrocini asked Quarto if she needed anything to bring to the hospital; she asked for her handbag, the affidavit says. When Fabrocini retrieved the handbag from the vehicle, the affidavit says he spotted a cosmetic product with the brand name “Arcona,” the same type of item that was swiped from the Aspen Club.Fabrocini seized the item and, after seeing numerous other items with the Arcona moniker, determined there was probable cause to impound the Infinity and get a search warrant, the affidavit says. But when officers later searched the vehicle, the same items they were looking for had vanished.That prompted Fabrocini to return to the Marolt apartment unit that Quarto had previously visited. There, Fabrocini met a tenant who admitted that he had taken items from the Infinity – only because Quarto had requested him to do so. The man also told police he didn’t realize the items were alleged to be hot. He was not cited.Police then seized the items from the man’s unit, some of which still had Aspen Club barcodes on them, according to the affidavit. Quarto was arrested Wednesday.She appeared at her advisement hearing in a wheelchair, saying she hurt both her knee and head.At one point, she told District Judge Gail Nichols, “I sustained a serious injury, and I don’t know why the person [who assaulted me] was not charged.”Nichols noted the advisement hearing was not the appropriate setting to air such allegations.Quarto faces three felony charges: second-degree burglary, theft and tampering with evidence. In 2006 she was sentenced to three years in state prison for a felony menacing conviction out of La Plata County, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin. Quarto said she has lived in the area for 20 years and was starting to turn her life around, most recently working for a child-care program.Noting Quarto’s prior criminal record and that “the evidence here is pretty strong,” Nichols set her bond at $7,email@example.com
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