Leadville robbery leads to Independence Pass arrests

Staff report

Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies arrested five people at gunpoint Monday on Independence Pass after they were allegedly involved in an auto burglary in Leadville, sources said Tuesday.

The arrests were made about a mile from the winter closure gate after the Lake County Sheriff’s Office asked Pitkin County deputies to be on the lookout for a black Chevrolet Suburban, said Michael Buglione, a supervisor with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies sighted the vehicle about 3:15 p.m. and conducted a high-risk stop with guns drawn, he said. They then held the group until Lake County Undersheriff Bill Kirkland arrived and took them back over the Pass, Buglione said.

A message left Tuesday for Kirkland seeking more information was not returned.

However, Lake County District Attorney Bruce Brown said the occupants of the Suburban allegedly stole a wallet and a pair of binoculars from a car in Leadville, then threw the items out of the car when police appeared behind them. The wallet and binoculars were recovered, he said.

Four of the five occupants of the car were charged with identity theft, criminal trespassing, criminal possession of a financial device, theft, criminal mischief and littering, Brown said. It was not clear why the fifth person was not charged, though a Pitkin County sheriff’s report indicates one of the people was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital after feeling ill.