L.A. songwriters, including finalist on ‘The Voice,’ arrested in Aspen
November 27, 2017
A Los Angeles songwriter was arrested Saturday and charged with stealing a purse from a parked car and using a credit card inside it to buy $6,000 worth of gift cards at Aspen grocery stores, according to court documents.
Virgil Buchanan, 39, of Studio City, California, was charged with criminal trespassing, theft and unauthorized use of a financial transaction device — all felonies — before he bonded out of the Pitkin County Jail, the documents state.
However he was arrested again hours later — along with a female songwriter companion who was a finalist on the TV show "The Voice" in 2012 — for attempting to enter their hotel room before police could obtain a warrant to search it, according to court documents and Aspen police Sgt. Rick Magunson.
For that alleged offense, both Buchanan and Gabrielle "Goldie" Nowee, 32, of Lake Balboa, California, were each charged with misdemeanor obstruction of government operations.
A 65-year-old woman first reported the Louis Vuitton purse stolen from her unlocked Lexus parked in the 500 block of East Hyman Avenue about 1:30 p.m. She immediately called American Express and discovered that her credit card had been used to purchase $3,000 worth of gift cards at City Market and $3,000 worth of gift cards at Clark's Market, according to court documents.
Later that afternoon, an Aspen police officer was able to obtain still pictures of Buchanan making the purchases from surveillance video at City Market, and distributed them to all on-duty police officer, the documents state.
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Then, about 9:15 p.m., Aspen police Officer Ryan Turner was at City Market buying his dinner when he spotted Buchanan in the self-checkout lane, according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.
"Buchanan looked over at me and we made eye contact," Turner wrote in the affidavit. "Buchanan then said something to the City Market Aspen self-checkout employee and quickly exited the store without purchasing his items."
Turner then confronted Buchanan, who declined to allow officers to search his BMW SUV, and arrested him, according to court documents. Turner also found a key to a condominium on Waters Avenue in Aspen on Buchanan after he was arrested.
Another officer then went over to the condo and was able to see the Louis Vuitton purse inside through a window. A subsequent search of the condo found the purse, the American Express card and the wallet stolen from the Lexus, as well as six Home Depot gift cards, nine MasterCard gift cards, six receipts from Home Depot for $500 each, a Visa card, a Discover card and a receipt from Clark's for $3,019, according to court documents.
An internet search Monday turned up no results for Buchanan as a songwriter. His employer is listed as "Universal Music Publishing" on a jail booking sheet.
Nowee, however, is listed as an employee of "Universal Music Group" and has worked with Diane Warren, Babyface and P. Diddy, according to Universal Music Publishing Group's website.
Nowee — known as "Goldie" — was a finalist on The Voice in 2012, has appeared in music videos by 50 Cent, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. and has "garnered acclaim for her songwriting on releases by Nipsey Hussie, Jesse McCartney, Alex Jacke, Sevyn Streeter and most recently, Chris Brown," according to the website.