Burglars pry open Aspen bakery’s safe, steal cash | AspenTimes.com

Burglars pry open Aspen bakery’s safe, steal cash

A heavy-duty safe in the basement office of Aspen's Paradise Bakery was pried open late Friday night or early Saturday morning by a thief or thieves who stole an undetermined amount of cash.

A person or group of people broke into Paradise Bakery’s basement office early Saturday morning, pried open a safe and stole an unspecified amount of cash from inside, sources said Monday.

“No one was hurt,” said Mark Patterson, co-owner of the popular downtown bakery. “It wasn’t an armed robbery or anything, although I’ve never had anything like that happen before.”

The street-level, retail portion of the business, where the public buys baked treats, coffee and ice cream, was not burglarized, Patterson said. Instead, the thief or thieves gained access to a common area in the building’s basement though a street-level door on Galena Street, he said.

Once inside and downstairs, they pried open the bakery’s office door, Patterson said. They toppled the safe onto the floor and then used an unknown tool to peel back the safe door, he said. The thieves made off with an unknown amount of cash, though Patterson estimated that it wasn’t more than “a couple thousand dollars.”

“I sure wish our camera had been working in the office,” Patterson said. “It would have been something to see.”

Patterson described the safe as “pretty heavy-duty” and said he’d owned it for about 35 years.

Aspen police Sgt. Terry Leitch said the operation was no simple feat.

“That took time and a lot of strength,” he said. “The door was pulled back like a tuna can (so they could) get something heavier in there and pop the latch.”

Leitch said he didn’t know what might have been used on the safe, though it would have been something heavy and sharp. It might have even been a power tool of some kind, he said, though that certainly “would have made a lot of noise at 2 in the morning,” he said.

Police received no noise complaints from the area Friday night or early Saturday, Leitch said.

The burglars would have been working within a relatively short window when no one is at the bakery, Patterson said.

“We’re only not there for about three and a half hours a day,” he said, noting that cleaners are often there past midnight and the baker arrives about 3:30 a.m.

Patterson called the incident “a wake-up call” and said he plans to replace the safe with a newer model.

“I know we’ll replace it with a heavier one, and we’ll bolt it down,” he said.

Police are continuing to investigate the theft.