Man arrested in Ohio for theft
An Ohio man accused of burglarizing the Zl coffee shop in Aspen two years ago has been brought back from that state to stand trial.
Michael Maness, 25, was brought into the Pitkin County Jail on Dec. 30 after extradition from Ohio.
Maness, who once worked at Zl, faces charges of third-degree burglary, a felony, and misdemeanor theft for allegedly stealing $355 from the store’s cash drawer.
According to the Aspen Police Department, the burglary occurred on Oct. 15, 1998, just over a month after Maness had been fired from Zl.
One of Zl’s owners, Pat Imeson, told investigating APD Officer Jim Cannan that Maness was fired because he was suspected of stealing money from the company.
On the night of the alleged burglary, according to courthouse documents, Maness was out drinking with several friends, including Jade Fulkerson and Clay Hapke, both of whom were then working at Zl.
According to police interviews with several people who saw the group on the night of the burglary, it is generally believed that Maness was broke. He reportedly was seen accepting free drinks from his friends.
Police reports indicate that the three ended up driving to The Aspen Store on Main Street around 1:30 a.m., and that Hapke went inside to buy some items. When he came back out, Hapke told police, Fulkerson and Maness were not in the car, so he waited for them.
Fulkerson returned after a short time, and then Maness got back, Hapke reportedly told police. Maness reportedly handed the car keys to Hapke, on a ring that also held keys to the front door at Zl. Hapke said Maness later claimed Hapke had seen him take them out of the ignition when the three exited the car at The Aspen Store.
A short time later, Hapke was arrested for drunk driving and taken to jail, while the other two were released to make their own way back into town.
Fulkerson later told police that, during the walk into Aspen, Maness revealed that he had burglarized Zl while wearing Hapke’s shirt, and that he needed to go back to get the security camera’s videotape out of the machine to avoid detection.
Fulkerson said Maness tossed the tape into a nearby pond, and the tape was recovered by a scuba-diving Snowmass cop on Oct. 20, 1998, in the pond next to the Rio Grande Park.
But Maness reportedly had left town by then, and Cannan apparently never asked a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.
It was not until March 2000, after Cannan had quit the force and Officer Eric Deutschlander took over the case, that a warrant was issued. Maness was arrested in Ohio for an unknown offense, and when police there checked his record they learned of the warrant and started extradition proceedings.
Maness was still in jail Tuesday afternoon, awaiting formal advisement by a judge of the charges against him. He is being held in lieu of payment of a $5,500 bond.
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