Burglars hit 10 businesses in Aspen area
Ten Aspen businesses were burglarized early Monday morning, and another two were robbed in El Jebel, according to police.Stage 3 Theaters, Ute City Bar & Grill, Little Annie’s Eating House, Shooters Saloon, the Steak Pit, Cantina, Roaring Fork Tavern, Cafe Amici, L’Hostaria and Kenichi all were burglarized in the early morning hours. In El Jebel, Jose Peña’s and the Capitol Deli were also hit, though burglars did not gain entry into the deli, said Basalt Police Chief Jim Stryker.”We’re confident that some of them are related,” said Aspen Police Department Investigator Glenn Schaffer. “I can’t give you a number, but there are definite similarities between some of them.”At 7:30 a.m. Monday Aspen police began receiving calls about the burglaries, after business operators discovered the crimes. Police spent much of yesterday gathering evidence at each business, such as fingerprints, tool marks and videotapes, as well as documenting damage and losses, Schaffer said.Officers were still processing and compiling that information yesterday afternoon, so a total estimate of losses was not available, he said.”We’ve talked with Glenn [Schaffer] and we’re waiting until their reports are finished to compare any similarities of the burglaries,” Stryker said. He said there were no indications that the El Jebel burglaries were connected with the ones in Aspen, aside from the timing.Stryker said entry was gained to Jose Peña’s when a back door was kicked in. Only a “small amount of cash” was lost, he said. Burglars also tried but failed to gain entry to Capitol Deli. Both businesses are located in Orchard Plaza, adjacent to Movieland in the El Jebel area.”In some of the 10 [Aspen burglaries], there were losses,” Schaffer said. “With some others, nothing was taken.”Rohn Fleming, general manager of the Cantina, said the burglars did not take anything from his establishment.”They broke in the back door, kicked in the office door and tried to get in the safe, but they didn’t get into it,” he said. Other businesses contacted Monday declined to comment, other than to confirm that the burglaries did occur.”Indications are that it happened after the bars closed, in the very early morning hours,” said Aspen Police Officer Bill Linn, of the Aspen burglaries.Linn said “physical and forcible” means were used to gain entry into all the Aspen businesses. “It’s not easy to break in a door by any of the means they used, and to do it quietly.”As a result, police are hoping neighbors or passersby heard and then saw suspicious activity in the vicinity of any of the businesses, Linn said. Witnesses are being asked to contact police with any information.While crime sprees have occurred in Aspen before, a string of 10 burglaries in one night is a record, police said.”A dozen burglaries have occurred in a one-week period,” said Assistant Aspen Police Chief Keith Ikeda, “but not 10 in one night … We set this as our number one priority.”Police have not said how many suspects they believe may be involved in the burglaries.
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