Man gets two years for string of thefts |

Man gets two years for string of thefts

John Colson

A Denver man who admitted he participated in a string of thefts and burglaries earlier this year was sent to prison Monday.

His wife narrowly escaped the same fate while awaiting trial on related charges.

Rodney Tedder, 32, was sentenced to two years in the state prison system early Monday afternoon, based on his guilty plea to one count of being an accessory to a crime.

As a result of the guilty plea, a felony drug charge and other counts were dismissed.

Probation officer Susan Cashel recommended 90 days in jail and three years of probation. But Judge J.E. DeVilbiss went along with the recommendation of the district attorney’s office.

Meanwhile, his wife, Laura Tedder-McKay, 30, appeared in court later in the day for what was to be a preliminary hearing. Instead the hearing turned into a failed attempt to fire her lawyer and a tense interchange with the judge.

The two were arrested in mid-February and charged with stealing a number of women’s purses from local clubs and bars, as well as burglarizing a local condominium.

When police searched the pair’s van, they found what they believed to be a large cache of stolen items and a number of pawn tickets. A check with authorities around the state turned up further theft accusations against the pair by police in Breckenridge.

As part of his plea agreement with the DA, Rodney Tedder told authorities that he was the one behind the series of thefts, and that it had happened in response to an argument the pair had about money while they were vacationing in Aspen.

“He feels like he forced his wife to do things she didn’t want to do,” said Tedder’s attorney, Mark Rubenstein, in court on Monday.

He also maintained that the couple were planning to move to Aspen from Denver, and had come to check out the town, not rob its citizens and visitors. He said a combination of partying and money problems got the better of them.

But Deputy DA Robert Weiner countered that the crime spree was not spontaneous at all.

“This was a planned operation,” he told the judge.

At a preliminary hearing later in the day, Laura Tedder-McKay tried to fire attorney John VanNess, accusing him of mishandling her case and not keeping in close enough contact with her.

But DeVilbiss countered that VanNess’ actions as an attorney seemed “completely understandable,” in terms of court procedures, and that Tedder-McKay was the one who was out of line.

“Maybe Ms. Tedder is about to outthink herself here,” the judge said, at one point threatening to throw her in jail to give her time to think over her legal strategy.

But in the end he merely continued the preliminary hearing to this morning, and asked police to bring him up to date on drug charges against Tedder-McKay arising out of an arrest in Denver in June.

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