Call it the art of the plea deal
January 15, 2008
ASPEN ” A Denver man who swiped two valuable paintings from an Aspen family agreed to a plea deal Monday that allowed him to narrowly dodge a felony conviction.
Tyson Hurd, 33, stole two paintings by Aspen artist Earl Biss ” valued at up to $90,000 each ” from the Goss family in April 2007.
On Monday, Hurd was sentenced to 45 days in the Pitkin County Jail and to a three-year deferred sentence for felony theft. He also will have to pay restitution to the Denver gallery to which he sold one of the paintings.
Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols said that Hurd lied when agreeing to the plea deal and did not mention a previously deferred felony. Judge Boyd named numerous aggravating factors when sentencing Hurd, including Hurd’s violating the trust of the Goss family, concealing his criminal history and fleecing multiple victims.
Lou Lou Goss, a victim, testified that Hurd should have a felony record as the result of the theft, but Judge James Boyd disagreed and allowed Hurd the three-year deferred judgment.
Hurd originally faced charges of second-degree burglary as well as felony theft and felony receiving (for selling the painting).
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According to police, Hurd had a previous relationship with Lou Lou Goss and police concluded Hurd banked on what he knew about the family and the gallery to steal two valuable paintings.
The Goss family first notified Aspen police of a missing painting on April 14. Three days later, owners of the American Design Gallery in Denver notified police they bought what they thought was a stolen painting from Hurd.
Hurd also offered the Denver gallery a second painting, and the Goss family searched their inventory and found a second Biss painting missing, according to police. The paintings are from the private collection of the Goss family, owners of Gypsy Woman Gallery on Main Street in Aspen.
Former Aspen police detective Eric Ross found that the paintings did match and eventually served Hurd with an arrest warrant in Denver.
Hurd was taken into custody Monday and currently is serving his sentence in the Pitkin County Jail.