Basalt store robbed |

Basalt store robbed

A masked robber struck again in the Roaring Fork Valley Tuesday morning, but Basalt police don’t believe the holdup is related to three upper valley robberies that occurred earlier this summer.

A lone robber, believed to be a man, entered the Basalt 7-Eleven store at about 4:30 a.m. while one clerk was on duty, according to Basalt Police Chief Jim Stryker.

“An unknown object was pressed into the clerk’s back and money was demanded,” Stryker said.

The “loss was minimal,” according to Stryker, because of 7-Eleven’s policy of keeping only a small amount of cash available to workers. Most money is dropped into a special vault which is inaccessible.

“Anybody knows you’re not going to get much out of a 7-Eleven,” Stryker said. “I think it was just someone desperate for cash.”

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The convenience store is the only retail operation open all night in the Basalt area.

The clerk, a man and longtime employee of the store, was unhurt. He was unable to give police much information because the incident happened so quickly.

The masked robber was believed to be alone and to have fled on foot, Stryker said. He came in the store while the clerk was attending to some task and before the clerk knew it, the man was behind him demanding cash.

Because the robbery occurred at a 7-Eleven, which takes steps to avoid large cash losses, and because the robber was alone and not confrontational, Basalt police don’t believe the holdup is related to two armed robberies in Aspen and one in Snowmass Village in August.

Nevertheless, Stryker advised business operators to use extra caution, but not to panic. “They always need to be alert,” he said.

On Aug. 5, three armed robbers – also all wearing masks – hit Clark’s Market in Aspen and escaped with what Aspen police termed a sizable sum of cash. The following night, two masked gunmen took a more modest amount of cash from the Aspen Alps, a condominium association located on Ute Avenue in Aspen. And on Aug. 19, three masked gunmen robbed The Village Market in Snowmass Village, taking an undisclosed amount of cash.

All three stickups remain under investigation and no arrests had been made as of yesterday.

Investigator Glenn Schaffer of the Aspen Police Department, said Aspen and Snowmass Village police have been working together on the three upper valley cases, because they may be related.

“I think we felt there was strong possibility that there was a link between the two robberies in Aspen and the one we had here,” reiterated Snowmass Village Police Chief Art Smythe. “That’s why we’re working so closely with Aspen on this, in the event that they were connected.”

Following the two Aspen robberies, police released cursory physical descriptions of some of the robbers involved, but further details the incidents were not disclosed.

In early January, a masked gunman held up the Stage 3 Theatres on Main Street, and in May, Stage 3 was hit again by masked gunmen, but police don’t believe those stickups are related to the August spree. Following the two August holdups in Aspen, Police Chief Tom Stephenson said of the Stage 3 robberies: “There is some indication that with Stage 3, not all the truth came out and the manager since has left the state.”

No one has been seriously injured during any of the robberies, though an employee of The Village Market in Snowmass Village suffered a minor injury from a blow dealt by one of the robbers.

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