Burglary spree spreads to Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Burglary spree spreads to Basalt

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

BASALT ” Some slovenly burglars hit four restaurants in Basalt early Tuesday morning in a crime spree that police say appears connected to earlier break-ins in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.

The burglars hit Cafe Bernard and Two Rivers Cafe downtown, and they also attempted to break into Bistro Basalt, Police Chief Keith Ikeda said. The burglars also hit Ho Palace and Redstone Pizza at the commercial center near Diamond Shamrock. All burglaries apparently occurred between 4 and 5 a.m. Tuesday, Ikeda said.

In all cases, the burglars used a crowbar to gain access through doors. Ikeda wouldn’t disclose the amount of cash taken, but said it was small.

“In fact, they did more damage prying,” Ikeda said.

Bernard Moffroid, co-owner of Cafe Bernard with his wife, Cathy, said the burglars “trashed the bakery.” His wife arrived around 5:30 a.m. to prepare for breakfast and found flour, sugar and other kitchen supplies strewn around. A cooler was left open.

“She thought it was a bear,” Moffroid said. Further investigation indicated that it was human intruders. Moffroid figured the people were searching for cash in odd places, like the canisters holding baking supplies.

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Moffroid said he doesn’t keep cash in the restaurant, so the burglars had a meager haul. However, they did snatch an iPod.

Just down Basalt’s main street at Two Rivers Cafe, manager Audrey Medina said the restaurant and bar area were ransacked. The thieves couldn’t gain access to the kitchen.

The burglars knocked crackers all over the restaurant floor and left a cooler open. When one of the owners discovered the mess, he also thought at first it was the work of a bear, Medina said.

The burglars’ actions were hard to explain, she said. The cash register in the restaurant was pried open, yet the thieves carefully used keys to open locks on cabinets in the bar, then replaced the locks on chains.

The burglars left about $40 in rolls of coins untouched, but they placed themselves in jeopardy with the bar crowd by stealing about $260 in football pool money. The thieves left the booze alone, Medina said.

Ikeda said the evidence indicates that there was more than one burglar. There were no witnesses to the break-ins, but one business owner might have spooked the burglars away, he said.

Authorities believe the break-ins in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs are “very possibly” related because of similar methods, Ikeda said.

Burglars hit three businesses at Carbondale’s Gateway Plaza building early Wednesday, Oct. 24. Police said the crooks were unable to break into two additional businesses.

Five businesses were victimized the prior weekend in Glenwood Springs. Eighth Street Deli reported losing $7,000 in cash and $3,000 in checks.

Ikeda said no suspects have been questioned in the Basalt burglaries, but his department is following leads.

“It just bums me out that something like this is happening,” he said, noting that burglaries have been rare.

Moffroid said his 17-year-old restaurant was never burglarized before.

Ikeda advised business operators to remove their cash each night. The Aspen Police Department issued a press release Tuesday suggesting that businesses make deposits at banks each night because of the rash of burglaries.

Scott Condon’t e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com.

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