Man with hammer robs Aspen marijuana dispensary | AspenTimes.com

Man with hammer robs Aspen marijuana dispensary

A sign on the door of Stash marijuana dispensary after it was robbed by a man with a hammer Tuesday.

A man wielding a hammer robbed an Aspen marijuana dispensary of $11,000 worth of the drug Tuesday before fleeing on foot, police said. The man had not been caught as of Tuesday evening, though police knew who he was and believed he was staying east of town, said Blair Flickinger, Aspen police spokeswoman.

Garrett Patrick, owner of Stash dispensary, 710 E. Durant Ave., near City Market, said the man came in about 12:30 p.m. acting like a customer, then waited for other customers in the shop to leave. He then approached two employees working at the shop with a hammer in his hand, Patrick said.

"He said, 'Sorry, I'm just really desperate now,'" he said.

The man, in his early-to-mid-20s, then went behind the counter, pulled a bag out of his backpack and started stuffing one of the large jars of marijuana into the bag, Patrick said.

"My employee said, 'Please don't do this,'" he said, but the man didn't reply.

Instead, he dropped the hammer and tried to leave the store, but Patrick's employee stepped in front of him to try to stop him, he said. The man then pushed the employee into the wall and went out the door.

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Undaunted, the employee went after him and grabbed hold of his backpack outside the store, but the man pulled away and fled. Patrick said the employee chased him for a few minutes, then came back and called police.

However, people eating on the Jour de Fete patio nearby saw what was happening and chased the man east to the Roaring Fork River, where he jumped into the river and hid in the bushes, Patrick said.

Police recovered the hammer from Stash, Flickinger said. Police had been in contact with the man's family, who had talked to him, according to a police statement.

The man is not only known to police, but also to Patrick and his employees, he said.

"He's friends with my employees," Patrick said. "His brother used to work for me. He's a local. Everyone knows him."

Stash closed until 4 p.m. Tuesday, and Patrick said he bought lunch for the two employees who were working and sent them home.

"They're pretty shook up about it," he said.

Not much marijuana was taken, he said.

About 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aspen police broadcast the suspect's name and description over the police radio. He was described as a white male with shoulder-length brown hair, about 5-foot-11-inches tall and 155 pounds. He was wearing a blue ball cap, sunglasses, a dark-colored T-shirt and shorts and was carrying a light-colored backpack. The dispatcher also said he might be staying somewhere up Independence Pass.

Flickinger declined to confirm the name Tuesday evening.

Stash also was robbed a year or two ago when the business was located at the Aspen Business Center, Patrick said. He said he thinks it might have been the same person who robbed the store Tuesday.

jauslander@aspentimes.com