Aspen car burglar gets probation
A local man who admitted breaking into numerous cars and stealing items last summer will spend the next two years on probation, a district court judge said Monday.
Patrick Estrada, 25, of Aspen, also was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 120 hours of community service and must undergo an anger-management evaluation, a mental health evaluation and write letters of apologies to the car owners who were victimized, said Pitkin County District Judge Chris Seldin.
“I burglarized a car on Main Street as well as many other vehicles,” Estrada said in court Monday. “I have a serious problem I need help for, which is stealing.”
Estrada apologized to his victims before his lawyer handed over a check for more than $21,000 for restitution.
Estrada was arrested in August after a witness saw him get out of a Nissan Xterra dressed all in black, cover his license plate with plastic and put on a black ski mask, according to court documents. Not long after, another witness saw the same car and a man wearing a ski mask in the same basic area where police later found a car with a smashed window. The owner reported an iPhone and her purse missing.
Police in Basalt and Snowmass Village also investigated six other similar smash-and-grab car burglaries June 16, 2016.
Aspen police stopped Estrada in the Xterra the same day in August that they discovered the car with the smashed window and found the owner’s purse in his car, according to court documents.
He was charged with 14 counts of auto trespassing and later pleaded guilty to auto trespassing and theft, which are both felonies.
On Monday, Estrada said he suffered trauma during his upbringing with an abusive father who had drug and alcohol problems. That childhood made Estrada angry and full of self-loathing, which he said he decided to take out on society.
While Seldin said he sympathized with Estrada’s difficult childhood, he pointed out that many children go through difficult childhoods.
“That doesn’t mean you have license to go out on a crime spree,” the judge said. “These people who were victimized weren’t your dad. You don’t have a right to do that to anybody.”
While Estrada received credit for the 117 days he’s already spent in jail, he likely won’t be getting out soon because of an active criminal case in California, which will likely extradite him, court officials said Monday.
In other court news:
A 22-year-old Arizona resident who admitted smashing two windows at The Little Nell hotel in December was sentenced by Seldin to a year of probation.
If Henry Bill stays out of trouble for the next year, his guilty plea to felony criminal mischief will be wiped from his record as part of a plea deal.
Bill had been at a local nightclub and became angry with a male who was dancing with his sister, according to court documents. The two men were separated and Bill left, then smashed a window at Dennis Basso and another at Betteridge Jewelers.
Bill paid for the windows to be replaced and told Seldin he learned his lesson.
“Obviously I never want to go through this again,” he said. “But this was a learning experience that my actions have consequences. I promise you I will not be in this situation ever again.”
Seldin told Bill this is the third case of a drunken man breaking a window he’s had since he was named to the bench less than two years ago.
“It’s literally a subset of cases — windows broken by a drunk guy,” he said.
Seldin ordered that Bill’s probation be transferred to Arizona, that he undergo an anger management evaluation, a substance abuse evaluation and write letters of apology to his victims.
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A notorious con man and lifelong thief caught four years ago living in a well-appointed cabin he built on Aspen Mountain is back in town and back in trouble.