‘Drunken mischief’ leads to felony conviction
A South African man who tried to take a motorcycle on a joyride while drunk in downtown Aspen in July pleaded guilty to felony criminal mischief Monday.
District Judge Gail Nichols sentenced Michael Dickinson, 25, to two years of unsupervised probation and will allow him to return to South Africa later this month. Provided he stays out of trouble for the next two years, the felony conviction will be wiped from his record.
Dickinson also will have to pay $484 in restitution for the damage caused to the motorcycle.
Molly Owens, Dickinson’s public defender, characterized the incident as “drunken mischief” and said Dickinson was “embarrassed and sorry” for his behavior. Dickinson was traveling in the United States before starting his career in real estate after graduating from a university in Cape Town, South Africa, Owens said.
“It was quite obvious you were very intoxicated,” Nichols said. “You couldn’t steal the bike because it was locked with a chain. If you were sober you would have seen it.”
An Aspen police officer first saw Dickinson and Kyle Edwards, 21, at about 1:20 a.m. on July 23 as they attempted to push the motorcycle across the intersection of South Mill Street and East Hopkins Avenue, according to a police report. At first, the officer thought the two men might need help until he noticed the cable lock wrapped around the motorcycle’s rear wheel.
Edwards first told the officer the bike belonged to his friend, “Sean Connery,” then said the owner was Dickinson, the report states. However, he became upset when the officer said he was under arrest, broke away from his grasp and ran directly into the front of the officer’s patrol car and hit the ground.
Charges are still pending against Edwards.
In other court news:
Nichols declined to reduce the bond of a 45-year-old local transient accused of breaking into a downtown business in July and stealing a cancer-research-fund jar.
District Attorney Sherry Caloia objected to granting Kevin Rutter a personal-recognizance bond, saying that based on his criminal history, he’s a danger to the community. Caloia also said that because Rutter is facing a lengthy prison sentence, she worried he might not appear for court.
In refusing to lower the $5,000 bond, Nichols said she worried more about community safety than whether Rutter would appear for court given the fact that he’s lived in the Roaring Fork Valley since he was 17 or 18.
Rutter was caught on video surveillance breaking into Aspen Brewing Co., at 304 E Hopkins Ave., on July 21 and taking $200 from the cash register and $100 from the cancer-research donation jar, according to a police report. An Aspen police officer recognized Rutter from the video.
Rutter has previously been convicted to motor vehicle theft in 2008, theft in 2009, attempted burglary in 2010 and petty theft in 2014.
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Basalt town government and its consultants have been working on an update to the 2007 land use master plan since April. The process has entered a critical stage. Residents can help determine density on key land parcels and other important issues at a meeting tonight.