Divine intervention? Man jailed for allegedly stealing painkillers from a monk | AspenTimes.com

Divine intervention? Man jailed for allegedly stealing painkillers from a monk

Daniel Jackson Kramer

SNOWMASS – A congregation member of the St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass faces felony charges for allegedly taking prescription painkillers from a monk, once during the middle of a sermon.

Daniel Jackson Kramer, 23, of Carbondale turned himself into Pitkin County authorities Tuesday. He remained in the custody of the Pitkin County Jail on Thursday after a judge set his bond at $13,500.

One of Kramer’s alleged thefts was caught on a surveillance video collected on Aug. 29, when the suspect entered Father Joseph Boyle’s bedroom at the monastery and took a prescription bottle containing five Vicodin tablets, according to an affidavit prepared by Pitkin County Deputy Brad Gibson. The bottle was stolen during Mass, Boyle told authorities.

The camera had been placed in Boyle’s room after the monk, along with a brother at the monastery, said their prescription drug bottles had been disappearing. The brother claimed that 10 pills of his Percocet, prescribed for a back surgery, had gone missing from his bedroom at the monastery in December.

All told, Boyle said there were five incidents of painkiller-drug thefts from the rooms, dating back to November 2009.

The matter was brought to the attention of Pitkin County Sheriff’s Investigator Ron Ryan in September, when Drug Enforcement Agency Agent Dave Storm apprised him. Storm was notified by an acquaintance at the monastery, Ryan said Thursday.

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Storm provided Ryan with the apparently incriminating video footage showing Kramer inside the monk’s bedroom, opening a desk drawer, removing an item and then putting it in his pants pocket, Gibson’s affidavit says.

On Sept. 17, Ryan met with Kramer, who confessed to taking the prescription bottles from the monastery, Gibson’s affidavit says. Kramer told Ryan that he first took painkillers from the monastery in 2007.

“Kramer saw the prescription drugs at the monastery as an opportunity to ‘catch a quick and easy fix,'” Gibson’s affidavit says.

Ryan said that Kramer was cooperative during the investigation, and was not considered a flight risk. An arrest warrant was not drafted up until Oct. 27 because other investigations took precedent, Ryan said.

Kramer faces two felony charges: second-degree burglary, which carries four to 12 years in state prison, along with a mandatory parole of five years, and a fine of $3,000 to $750,000; and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, which carries two to six years in prison, a fine ranging from $2,000 to $500,000, and three years of mandatory parole.

He also faces misdemeanor counts of theft and unlawful use of a controlled substance. His next court appearance is scheduled Nov. 15, a jail deputy said.

The alleged victim, Boyle, joined St. Benedict’s Monastery in 1959, according to its website. In 1985 he was elected abbot, making him the head of the monastery.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com