Jewelry swiped in heist |

Jewelry swiped in heist

Tim Mutrie

An Aspen jewelry store was robbed Saturday night, exactly one week after the Stage 3 Theatres was held up by a masked gunman.

A single, unarmed bandit made off with two pieces of diamond jewelry valued at about $7,500, according to investigating officer Bill Linn of the Aspen Police Department. The heist occurred at about 5:30 p.m., while the store, located in the 500 block of East Cooper Avenue, was still open for business.

Linn refused to identify the specific jewelry store involved. There are four jewelry retailers in that block – Chepita, Hyde Park of Aspen, Piranesi and A.L. Distributors – plus HWR Jewelry on the corner of Cooper and Galena.

No one was seriously injured in the incident and the robber remains at large, Linn said.

The robber is described as a 26- to 32-year-old white man, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with “chiseled features” and dark (nearly black) hair cut to one length “which hung over his ears,” Linn said. He was wearing black pants and a black leather jacket at the time of the robbery.

According to Linn, the man entered the jewelry store while the clerk on duty was helping another customer.

When the clerk asked him if he needed assistance, he did not reply, but proceeded directly to a jewelry display case which had the key inside the lock, Linn said. He then opened the case, removed two pieces of jewelry and bolted for the door, Linn said.

The clerk gave chase and grabbed hold of him in the doorway, Linn said, but the robber threw her down and broke free. Two men, who were outside the shop and witnessed the struggle in the doorway, grabbed the robber and “peeled his backpack off him as he ran away,” Linn said.

Linn said the bystanders who jumped into the fray thought the clerk and the robber were struggling over the backpack and were unaware that a robbery had just taken place. The pack did not contain the jewels, Linn said.

He declined to comment on the contents of the pack.

The robbery is under investigation and Linn asks anyone who witnessed the incident to contact the investigations unit of the Aspen Police Department at 920-5400.

“Although we had lots of witnesses and lots of physical evidence, courtesy of the guy leaving his backpack for us, and the fact that the store had a video surveillance system, we would still like to speak with people about what they may have seen,” Linn said. “We really want to know where this guy went, because he disappeared pretty quick.”

Linn said he does not believe that the Jan. 2 armed robbery of the Stage 3 Theatres, which remains under investigation, and the latest heist are connected.

“I don’t see a pattern in the two,” he said. “But it is pretty striking to have this come exactly one week after our first armed robbery in a long time.”

“This is out of the ordinary,” agreed Leon Murray, police patrol supervisor, regarding the back-to-back weekend robberies.

The holdup at the Stage 3 Theatres was the first crime of its kind in Aspen in more than a decade, police said. An undisclosed amount of the night’s cash receipts was stolen in that incident.

“Something’s up,” Murray continued. “The flavor of this community is changing.”

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