Charges piling up on alleged robber of Aspen marijuana shop
The Aspen Times
The man suspected of robbing a Aspen marijuana dispensary with a hammer Tuesday led officers on a high-speed chase when they tried to pull him over west of St. Louis on Wednesday night, then crashed head-on into a police car, according to a statement.
Hayden May, 21, then refused to get out of the black 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe he stole from his former employer in Aspen, prompting a St. Louis police officer to use his baton to break the window before arresting him, the statement from the St. Louis County Police Department says.
The police officer in the car who was hit head-on was taken to a local hospital for treatment of a minor neck injury, said Sgt. Brian Schellman of the St. Louis County Police Department.
May will face charges of assault on a police officer and resisting arrest in St. Louis, Schellman said Thursday.
That means it will likely be a relatively lengthy period of time before he returns to Aspen to face felony armed robbery, felony theft and other charges for the pot shop robbery and the car theft, said Blair Flickinger, Aspen police spokeswoman.
May allegedly entered Stash marijuana dispensary, located at 710 E. Durant Ave., at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, waited for other customers to leave, then pulled out a hammer, apologized to two employees for being “desperate” and loaded several jars of marijuana worth $11,000 into a garbage bag and fled, according to police and the shop’s owner.
Aspen police searched for him on the east end of town and communicated with his family members in an effort to get him to turn himself in by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Both efforts, however, failed and police issued a warrant for his arrest.
He was last seen at about 3 a.m. Wednesday near Difficult Campground east of Aspen, police said.
Then, at about 8 p.m. Wednesday, the black Tahoe with Colorado license plates was spotted heading east on Interstate 70 west of St. Louis near the town of St. Charles, according to the statement from St. Louis police. He was found using cellphone tracking technology, according to Aspen police.
An officer pulled him over west of the intersection of I-70 and I-170 — just south of Ferguson, Missouri — and ordered him out of the car, the statement says.
May declined to exit the Tahoe, then took off at a high rate of speed and headed south on I-170, where he drove as fast as 100 mph as police gave chase. He drove several miles on the interstate before exiting and heading southeast through city streets near the city of Pagedale, while also getting caught on a dead-end street and turning around, the St. Louis police statement says.
After that, May struck a parked car, then drove straight toward a police car from the city of Edmundson and hit it head-on before running into an electrical pole and finally stopping, according to the statement.
Officers commanded May to exit the vehicle, though he again declined. An officer then used his police baton to smash the driver’s side window and ordered May out. This time he complied, and was arrested without further incident and was not injured, according to the statement.
Three large glass jars of marijuana plus a black plastic bag containing more marijuana were recovered from the vehicle May was driving, Schellman said.
The Chevrolet Tahoe was stolen from the McSkimming neighborhood east of Aspen and belonged to May’s former employer, according to Aspen police.
St. Louis police were advised that May might have been armed with a .45-caliber handgun, though Aspen police said Thursday the gun was not recovered after May was arrested. May was named a suspect in a firearm theft reported Wednesday to the Snowmass Village Police Department, Aspen police said in a statement.
Sgt. Dave Heivly of the Snowmass Village Police Department said Thursday that the .45 caliber, semi-automatic handgun was stolen Tuesday night and reported to Snowmass Village police Wednesday. The person who reported the theft said he was taking care of it for the gun’s owner and is, at least, an acquaintance of May’s, Heivly said.
Both the owner of the handgun and the person who was taking care of it work at Stash dispensary, he said. The owner of the gun was one of the two employees working at the shop when May robbed it, Heivly said.
Snowmass Village police have no proof that May stole the gun but are treating him as a suspect because of the connections involved, he said.
“It’s just a strong feeling,” Heivly said. “We have nothing concrete.”
It is unclear exactly where May, a Georgia native, was living in the Aspen area. Aspen police have him listed as “transient” and have no address on file for him, Flickinger said.
An Aspen friend of May’s, who requested anonymity, said May never worked at a local smokeshop, contrary to another source cited by The Aspen Times on Wednesday, and that he worked in property management.
The friend said he knew May for about a year and described him as a “nice kid.” He said May loved his dog, Bosco, enjoyed smoking marijuana and didn’t drink alcohol.
“He was a normal kid,” the friend said. “He was a rapper, and he was actually pretty good for a white boy.”
The friend said he and other of May’s friends are “in shock” over the robbery.
“We just can’t believe it,” he said.
He said he last heard from May about a month ago, when May texted the friend and said “something weird” the friend couldn’t remember.
“The last text I sent him was ‘Are you OK?’” the friend said. “I didn’t hear back from him.”