Bank robbery ‘not a cold case’ |

Bank robbery ‘not a cold case’

Paul Conrad/Aspen Times Weekly file

On Feb. 25, 2003, the Aspen Airport Business Center (ABC) got a dose of the Wild West.

There, an Alpine Bank branch was hit up by man who claimed he had a bomb in his backpack, and he would set it off unless the teller coughed up some dough.

The teller obliged, and the man made off with some 4,000 in cash. The heist lasted 56 seconds ” from the time the robber entered the bank to the time he left. That information is based on surveillance video, said Ron Ryan, the case’s lead investigator and a member of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. Ryan recently said authorities also believe another person drove the getaway car.

“It’s believed there were two people involved,” Ryan said.

Even though the amount taken is nominal compared to other heists, Ryan said the case was a high priority at the time, and remains open, because of its nature.

“This is not a cold case,” he said. “Once all leads are exhausted I think you could call it a cold case. It remains very high on our priorities because it was a violent crime.”

The robbery occurred at about 10:30 in the morning, and no customers were in the bank at the time. The bank shut down for the rest of the day, and nearby businesses at the ABC, located on the outskirts of town, remained on alert.

The robber who entered the bank was described as a stocky white man, standing 5-foot-2, and weighing about 180 pounds. Police said he had brown eyes, short dark hair, and had a bald spot on his head.

Ryan said the teller did the right thing at the time by giving up the money. Unlike some banks in metropolitan areas, Aspen banks don’t have bullet proof windows that raise automatically when a would-be robber arrives.

“We don’t live in a community where those measures are necessary,” Ryan said.

Still, he added: “As long as there have been banks there have been bank robberies. It was a Wild West type crime. Only a very desperate person would have done this.”

At the time of the Alpine hit, Joe DiSalvo, now the undersheriff for Pitkin County, said the bank robbery was the first one in the Aspen area in his 17 years of local law enforcement. Since that armed robbery, which marks its fifth anniversary next month, there have been no others of its type at local financial institutions.

Ryan said any time there’s a bank robbery in the state, he looks into it to see if there may be any similarities to the one that happened at the ABC.

“Every now and then we get some more information,” he said.

The FBI is also involved in the investigation.

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