Burglary suspect escapes one charge, | AspenTimes.com

Burglary suspect escapes one charge,

Aspen Times Staff Report

A Denver woman succeeded in having one of eight theft charges against her dropped Tuesday, after a judge agreed in a preliminary hearing that there was insufficient evidence against her.

But Laura Tedder-McKay still faces six counts of theft and one count of conspiracy to commit theft, in connection with a series of purse snatchings and other heists committed in Aspen last February.

And once she is done with the cases filed against her in Aspen, she still faces a string of similar charges in Breckenridge, as well as a drug charge in Denver.

According to police, Tedder-McKay and her estranged husband, Rodney Tedder, were in Aspen for a visit in mid-February when they had an argument over money and allegedly began stealing from people in local bars and restaurants. They also were believed to have burglarized a local condominium.

In court this week, Aspen Police Officer Bill Linn recounted reports received the night of Feb. 11 from five victims of purse snatchings and one man who said two snowboards, a piece of stereo equipment and some compact discs were stolen from his apartment.

Linn said a suspect in the purse snatchings, a white woman with blonde hair, had been chased out of the Living Room bar that night and had hopped into a Toyota 4-Runner driven by a man with close-cropped, dark hair.

Later that night, police stopped a car matching that description in El Jebel. The SUV had the same license plate number as was reported by witnesses in Aspen. Linn said the descriptions of the two people inside, Rodney Tedder and Laura Tedder-McKay, matched the witness descriptions.

In addition, he said, there was a snowboard in the back seat of the 4-Runner that generally matched with the one reported stolen from the Aspen condominium. The couple was arrested and their truck impounded and later searched twice.

Police found a number of items strewn about the inside of the truck, including some that matched with the reported thefts, Linn said. They also found several pawn tickets and a gift certificate from a store in Breckenridge.

A check with the Breckenridge police uncovered similar purse snatchings and thefts there. A check of pawn shops uncovered a video camera that had been stolen from a Breckenridge man. The signature on the pawn ticket in question, Linn said, was by Rodney Tedder.

But defense attorney John Van Ness argued that, although there seemed to be sufficient evidence to charge his client with the thefts, there was not sufficient proof to charge her with “theft by receiving” stolen goods. He said to prove such a charge, the court had to show that they were “engaged in the business of buying or selling or otherwise disposing of stolen goods.”

Judge J.E. DeVilbiss agreed that there was no such proof presented by Deputy District Attorney Robert Wiener.

He noted that a judge is expected to consider evidence “in a light most favorable to the state” in such hearings, DeVilbiss said, “But even so, I can’t connect this defendant with theft by receiving and disposal of property. There’s got to be some evidence there.”

He continued the case until July 24, when Tedder-McKay is expected to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty to the other counts against her, which include four felonies and three misdemeanors.

She also tried to fire her attorney this week, and has until July 24 to figure out whether she wants to continue with Van Ness or hire another.

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