News in Brief
July 7, 2011
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – Two local men face theft charges after surveillance video at Viceroy Snowmass showed them swiping a laptop computer from the hotel’s bell stand.
Kyle Aaron Chesnut, 21, of Basalt, and Aaron Justice Knot, 22, of Snowmass Village were advised of the class-four felony theft charge of theft Wednesday in the chambers of Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols. Nichols released both defendants from custody on separate, $5,000 personal recognizance bonds.
In the early morning hours of July 3, Snowmass police received a report of the theft of a Panasonic Toughbook laptop, with an estimated value of $2,000. The hotel’s video surveillance showed Chesnut and Knot inspecting the laptop, before Chesnut unplugged it and shoved it under his jacket, while Knot blocked the view of a bell man, according to police records.
On July 4, Snowmass police interviewed Chesnut, who confessed to the crime. Knot, too, admitted to being a participant, as the computer was left at his home. The same day, Knot’s girlfriend turned in the computer to Snowmass authorities, according to police.
Aspen attorney Mark Rubinstein, appearing on behalf of Chesnut, told Nichols the two were “quite intoxicated, probably working in a foolhardy fashion, other than an organized effort” to take the computer.
Nichols said the evidence appears strong and told each defendant to take the allegations seriously. She noted that theft convictions can lead to difficulty finding employment, among other setbacks.
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Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin said he plans to file charges against the two later this month.
ASPEN – An Aspen woman pleaded no contest Wednesday to keeping a vicious dog, only to withdraw her plea and set the matter for trial.
Sandy Ferlisi appeared in Aspen Municipal Court to answer the charge that carries a fine of up to $1,000 and possible euthanization of her animal.
Ferlisi, who did not have a lawyer, changed her no-contest plea to not guilty when Judge Brooke Peterson informed her of the potential punishment she faces. With the not-guilty plea, a trial was set for July 27.
Police cited Ferlisi on June 22, after her Australian shepherd allegedly attacked a woman and her malteese/poodle at Wagner Park. The alleged victim told police the shepherd bit her several times on her right arm.
Police reached Ferlisi later that day at her residence, and she agreed to have her dog quarantined for a period of 10 days. Ferlisi also provided police with records showing that her dog, which was not quite one year old, received its rabies shots when it was 16 weeks old.
Ferlisi is due back in court July 27 for the trial. Prosecutor Jim True said he plans to have the alleged victim appear in court for the trial.
BASALT – Family and friends of midvalley resident Lloyd Willits are organizing an event Saturday to raise funds for his fight against cancer.
Willits was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. His family has no health insurance, according to family friend Garret Brandt. The fundraiser will help raise money to help pay for medical expenses.
The event will be from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday at Two Rivers Cafe in Basalt. It will feature diner and wine as well as a silent auction and music. Bands playing will include the Bo Hale Treatment, Suzanne Paris Band, Harleywood Band and Rob Kepper.
The suggested donation is $30. Donations can also be made to: Lloyd Willits Benefit Fund, in care of Bank of Colorado, 655 E. Valley Road, Basalt, CO 81621.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – An environmental organization filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a decision by the Bureau of Land Management to issue a special permit that will allow cavers into two caves in the Glenwood Springs area this month.
The Center for Biological Diversity objects to the BLM decision to allow members of the National Speleological Society (NSS) into the Anvil Points and LaSunder caves during a caving convention in Glenwood Springs. The Center for Biological Diversity contends that biologists with the Colorado Division of Wildlife advised the BLM not to allow visits to the two caves because of concerns over white-nose syndrome, a disease that has decimated bat populations in eastern North America in recent years.
The BLM and the White River National Forest supervisor’s office both decided to grant permits to the NSS granting access to specific caves. The Forest Service’s special permit temporarily eases a cave ban for the group. The BLM has no ban in place.
Both federal land management agencies require limited visits, a limited number of visitors per trip and decontamination procedures to guard against spreading a fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome. The Center for Biological Diversity claimed that doesn’t go far enough in the case of the Anvil Points and LaSunder caves because bat use has been documented at the two sites.
The lawsuit was filed in Washington, D.C.