Stocking-handed robbers take $1K in cash, $3.5 in pot | AspenTimes.com

Stocking-handed robbers take $1K in cash, $3.5 in pot

Ryan Summerlin
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

When the sole employee opening a Carbondale marijuana shop Monday morning unlocked the door to start the business day, two men walked in wearing camouflage masks.

They had socks on their hands, perhaps having forgotten gloves, Mike Friend, owner of Sweet Leaf Pioneer marijuana store, told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on Tuesday.

The robbers held the worker at gunpoint with a semi-automatic handgun with a laser sight.

They walked out with marijuana and about $1,000 in cash, Friend said.

In total, they took about $3,500 worth of marijuana, marijuana concentrate and accessories in a black bag, according to an arrest affidavit filed Tuesday.

Witnesses outside the store saw the robbers leave in a red Ford Mustang and called authorities, Friend said.

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The Ford Mustang had been stolen in Glenwood Springs, according to the affidavit.

The robbers ditched the car west of Carbondale on County Road 108, just inside Pitkin County, and officers searching for them believed they had switched cars, Carbondale police said. By that point, Garfield County sheriff's deputies and officers from the Glenwood Springs Police Department were assisting in the search.

Officers soon stopped a green Honda at county roads 117 and 125. Two people matching the description of the robbers, Erik Jose Colon and Arturo Nuno-Cervantes, were in the car. Along with them were Bryan Flores-Calix, who was driving the Honda, and a 17-year-old male.

Friend praised quick thinking by witnesses and a quick response by police in capturing the men.

After questioning, all four people in the Honda were charged in the robbery. The three adults were arrested and the 17-year-old was released to his parents.

Flores-Calix told police he'd agreed to drive the robbers in exchange for a discount on some stolen speakers and gas money, according to the affidavit. Flores-Calix said he and the 17-year-old were waiting on Colon and Nuno-Cervantes on County Road 108. Witnesses reported seeing the Ford Mustang "scream up beside (them)" and two people get out.

The 17-year-old said he didn't know anything about the robbery before he and Flores-Calix picked up Colon and Nuno-Cervantes, according to the affidavit.

Nuno-Cervantes and Colon were arrested on charges of aggravated robbery of a controlled substance, a Class 2 felony, and false imprisonment, a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Flores-Calix was arrested on charges of complicity to commit aggravated robbery of a controlled substance and false imprisonment.

Because the 17-year-old is a minor, his affidavit is not a public record.

In April, Flores-Calix was charged with felony trespass, theft, false reporting and criminal mischief in an incident involving his green Honda Civic. According to his arrest affidavit at the time, Flores-Calix offered $100 to an irate Silt resident to not call police after he took the hood off the man's car on the night of April 6.

He told police he spotted the white Honda Civic shortly after the hood on his own green Honda Civic fell off. He followed the car home, unbolted the hood and was setting it into place on his car when he was confronted by the owner.

Robberies of marijuana stores appear to be rare since Colorado legalized sale of the drug to people 21 and older in 2014. The Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division does not keep count of such robberies, said Ro Silva, the department's director of communications, though the agency would investigate cases in which marijuana is stolen from stores.

Marijuana stores are all-cash businesses because their product is illegal under federal law, scaring banks and credit-card companies away from handling money from drug sales. Shops are required by Colorado regulators to have video surveillance equipment.

In the only other known pot shop robbery in the region since legalization, Aspen's Stash was held up July 28 by a man armed with a hammer.

Hayden May, 21, is charged in that case with, among other things, aggravated robbery of a controlled substance while armed with a deadly weapon. If he's convicted of that count, he faces a minimum prison term of 16 years and a maximum of 48 years.

May also is charged with felony theft, which mandates a prison term of one to three years upon conviction, as well as a harassment charge, which calls for a term of as long as six months.

In Missouri, where he was arrested, he was charged with felony assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon after striking a police car at the end of a chase, along with felony resisting arrest and possession of a controlled substance.

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