Russian pleads in Aspen jewelry theft case
A native of Russia who was extradited from New York to Aspen last year after being identified as part of a gang of thieves that targeted a downtown jewelry store three years ago pleaded guilty Thursday to theft.
Mayya Kvek, 48, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft in Pitkin County Court as part of a plea deal with the District Attorney’s Office that included a case in California, said Don Nottingham, deputy district attorney. Kvek, a native of Moscow, earlier pleaded guilty to felony receiving stolen property in Santa Barbara County, he said.
Kvek was initially charged in Aspen with felony theft between $20,000 and $100,000 for allegedly taking part in the theft of $95,000 worth of jewelry from Maja du Brul Jewelry in the 300 block of Hopkins Avenue in September 2017.
Kvek was allegedly caught on surveillance video stealing a gold pendant bejeweled with diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds valued at $45,240 from the store after entering with two other women in their 30s or 40s, according to court documents. She took the pendant while the sales woman at the store was distracted.
An older man who entered with a woman soon after Kvek and the two women allegedly was caught on video stealing a pair of aquamarine and white gold earrings valued at $21,750 and a $28,000 pair of pearl earrings. After he stole the earrings, the saleswoman caught the older man trying to steal a bracelet, snatched it back from him and ordered him and the woman out of the store.
Police believe all five people operated as a team.
None of the other people involved have been publicly identified by Aspen police or arrested, Nottingham said. In addition, none of the jewelry stolen from Maja du Brul has been recovered, he said. Restitution is an “outstanding issue” in the case, he said.
Kvek previously served 101 days in the Pitkin County Jail and was sentenced Thursday to time-served and two years of supervised probation, which will be transferred to New York.
Aspen is infrequently the scene of brazen, top-dollar jewelry thefts like the one Kvek is alleged to have been involved with.
Thieves stole nearly $420,000 worth of necklaces, diamond and gold rings, bracelets and earrings from a jewelry case stocked by a local store in the lobby of the The Little Nell Hotel in December 2018. In October 2019, thieves pried open the door of another jewelry store in downtown Aspen in the middle of the night and made off with more than $60,000 in Rolex watches.
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Celebrate the accomplishment of English in Action students while getting to know your community members (virtually) at English in Action’s Immigrant Voices event on Sunday.