Longtime locals face robbery charges
Four of five suspects allegedly involved in the August 5 armed robbery of Clark’s Market are now in custody, and almost all of them are longtime local youths.
Three suspects were advised of their rights in Pitkin County’s 9th Judicial District Court Monday.
Yuri Ognacevic, 18, and Cody Wille, 17, appeared before Judge T. Peter Craven yesterday afternoon. Ognacevic and Wille, who is being charged as an adult, face charges of aggravated robbery, theft, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and theft – all related to the Clark’s robbery. Wille is the son of longtime Aspenite Raoul Wille, who died one year ago while trekking in Nepal.
Stefan Schutter, a juvenile Aspenite who is being held in a juvenile detention center in Mesa County, will face similar charges, according to authorities.
A fourth suspect – Moses Greengrass, 19, who also grew up Aspen – had not been apprehended by police as of Monday night. He faces similar charges, according to authorities.
Jacob Richards, 18, son of Mayor Rachel Richards, was also advised yesterday on charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. Richards is not alleged to have participated directly in the Aug. 5 armed robbery, according to arrest warrants.
Judge Craven also advised Richards on four felony counts (first-degree burglary, theft, and two counts of first-degree motor vehicle theft) related to a Sept. 20 burglary of a residence on Twining Flats Road.
Colorado law classifies aggravated, or armed, robbery as a “crime of violence.” Therefore, the defendants allegedly involved directly in the Clark’s robbery could face sentencing in the range of eight to 24 years in prison, Craven said yesterday.
Furthermore, because Wille allegedly committed a “crime of violence,” state law permits the district attorney’s office to charge him as an adult, even though he is 17 years old. Nevertheless, Craven advised Wille that he may be prosecuted in the “juvenile offender system.”
As of 7:30 p.m. Monday, Ognacevic, Richards and Wille were being held in the Pitkin County Jail on $50,000, $75,000, and $50,000 bonds, respectively. The three must appear in court on Oct. 18, when formal charges will be filed against them.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office has issued warrants for Greengrass as well as Aspenite Anthony Rizzuto, 19, related to the Sept. 20 burglary of the Twining Flats Road residence, according to authorities.
Nathan Morse, 19, of Aspen, is also allegedly linked to the burglary. Morse is being held in an unspecified county jail so as to bar contact between him and the defendants being held in the Pitkin County Jail, police said. Morse, the son of Aspen resident Toby Morse, was last winter named as a likely contender for the Junior Olympics as a nordic skier. No comment on connections Aspen Police Chief Tom Stephenson said a multi-agency task force is continuing to investigate the armed robberies of the Aspen Alps on Aug. 6 and The Village Market in Snowmass Village on Aug. 19.
“We’re investigating those crimes and we’re continuing to develop very viable leads and put a case together to present to the district attorney in the near future,” he said.
Stephenson would not comment about whether there are any connections between the three armed robberies or the 10 burglaries of downtown Aspen businesses on Sept. 20.
Snowmass Village Police Chief Art Smythe said that while he thinks the robbery incidents are related, his agency has not issued warrants for any suspects.
“It’s safe to say that we believe the incidents are tied together,” Smythe said, “but we still have some work to do to get to the level where we have sufficient evidence for a warrant. The ultimate goal is successful prosecution, and that’s a long way from suspicion.
“Recently a lot of information has come in a short time, concerning several incidents, and it’s going to take a while to sort through it all.” Putting the pieces together Authorities began to link the Twining Flats burglary and the Clark’s robbery on Sept. 21, when Morse was arrested in Boulder for car theft, according to an arrest warrant filed by Investigator Joe DiSalvo of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
Morse later told authorities he stole the 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sept. 12 from in front of the Aspen Club Lodge, and said he planned on selling it to get money for college, according to DiSalvo’s report.
Boulder authorities stopped Morse and an unidentified male passenger for a traffic infraction Sept. 21. When a routine check on the vehicle showed it was stolen from Aspen, Morse and the passenger fled the scene in the Jeep and eluded police, according to DiSalvo’s report. The Jeep was recovered unoccupied a short time later.
About an hour later, Morse phoned the Boulder Police Department, identified himself as the driver of the vehicle and then surrendered, DiSalvo’s report said. Morse told Boulder police that he had been involved in a burglary at a Twining Flats Road residence a day earlier, where a white Range Rover and three shotguns were stolen.
On the evening of Sept. 20, Morse told authorities he met up with Richards and Greengrass, who both knew the Jeep was stolen, and then later with Anthony Rizzuto, according to DiSalvo’s report. Greengrass suggested that they take the Jeep to Denver to sell it, Morse told authorities. But before doing so, the group decided they needed another vehicle to sell, according to DiSalvo’s report.
Richards, who used to work at 770 Twining Flats Road and had a key to the residence, led the group there, where they stole three shotguns and a white Range Rover, according to DiSalvo’s report. With Morse and Rizzuto in the Jeep and Richards and Greengrass in the Range Rover, they all drove to Denver, said DiSalvo.
Subsequent investigations at 770 Twining Flats Road confirmed the occurrence of a burglary. Additionally, a key to the residence was found among evidence seized from the stolen Jeep.
Also among the evidence seized from the Jeep was a black knit cap with two eye holes cut out, according to a warrant filed by Detective Glenn Schaffer of the Aspen Police Department. Schaffer said he noticed that the mask was similar in description to one worn by a gunman in the Clark’s robbery. The three gunmen involved made off with approximately $21,000 in cash from the grocery store. A confession Aspen police received the first of several tips on Sept. 21 that helped link several of the defendants to the Clark’s robbery, according to Schaffer’s report. On Sept. 23, DiSalvo and Snowmass Village Police Officer Dave Heivly went to Boulder to meet with Jed Woolley, “an associate of Richards, Greengrass and Rizzuto,” according to Schaffer’s report.
Woolley allegedly told authorities he had overheard rumors that Stefan Schutter, Moses Greengrass, Cody Wille and Yuri Ognacevic were involved in the Clark’s robbery. Furthermore, he said he thought Jacob Richards gave the defendants information about how Clark’s Market operated, because he used to work there. Woolley also gave DiSalvo the location of the stolen Range Rover in Boulder, according to Schaffer’s report.
Later on the night of Sept. 23, DiSalvo interviewed Wille.
“After more than 30 minutes of denying any involvement in the Clark’s Market robbery, Cody Wille admitted to being involved by stating, `I was involved with Clark’s,'” according to Schaffer’s warrant.
“We ran down Mill Street, through the Mill Street door of the building, through Clark’s … then Moses and Stefan got the money, and we ran out,” Schaffer quotes Wille as saying. “Stefan had, like a rifle, and I had a BB gun, and that was it.”
“Cody Wille stated the three of them left through the main door and that they followed a path to Yuri’s car, which was parked up on Monarch Street, and then they drove away out to the woods,” according to Schaffer’s warrant.
Wille allegedly told authorities the loot amounted to about $22,000, and that he got $5,000 after it was divvied up. Wille said the robbery was planned “two hours” in advance. According to the report, DiSalvo questioned Wille about Jacob Richards by asking, “And his role in this was to tell you what it was like inside Clark’s at eleven o’clock at night?” Wille allegedly replied, “Uh-huh.”
Wille told authorities he did not pay Richards for the information about Clark’s, “but he did not know if anyone else did,” according to Schaffer’s warrant.
A description of the Clark’s robbers given by an employee of the grocery store matched descriptions for Schutter and Wille, according to Schaffer’s report.
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