Police arrest suspect for Basalt heist
BASALT – A suspect in the Dec. 19 robbery at the Basalt 7-Eleven was arrested early Friday after picking the wrong New Year’s Eve party to attend, according to police.
Edras Baldino Gonzales Asorto, 24, of Basalt, was detained outside of the Malibu Cafe in El Jebel at about 12:30 a.m. Friday. The victim of the 7-Eleven robbery was at the same party at the bar. She spotted him and had a friend contact authorities, Basalt Police Sgt. Stu Curry said Friday.
Asorto was taken to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office substation in El Jebel and questioned. He initially denied involvement in the robbery. Curry had worked the case and had viewed the store’s surveillance video of the robber. Like the victim, he felt Asorto was the suspect.
“I said, ‘Hey, I saw the video myself. You’re the guy,'” Curry said.
Asorto later allegedly confessed, Curry said. He told officers he was “really drunk” at the time of the robbery and couldn’t explain his actions.
“He got so nervous, at one point he threw up,” Curry said. “Thankfully he told the truth.”
Asorto was arrested for aggravated robbery, a class III felony, and misdemeanor theft. He was transported to the Eagle County jail early New Year’s Day. Curry said he believes Asorto is being held without bond because he couldn’t provide documentation that he is in the country legally. Asorto is from Honduras, Curry said.
Police said the suspect came into the 7-Eleven at about 12:30 a.m. Dec. 19 while the manager was working alone. He bought a pack of cigarettes, then left. He returned a short time later and said he needed a can of pop. While the manager was heading behind the sales counter, the suspect grabbed her and put a knife to her side. After he obtained cash from the register, he attempted to depart from the back door. The victim said she couldn’t open that door, so he started leading her to the front. She broke his grip, locked herself in a bathroom and called 911. Police arrived a short time later but the robber fled the scene. The victim was unharmed.
Police released a video image and description of the suspect later in the week. Curry said Friday he feared the suspect fled the area once he knew the search was on.
The victim noticed Asorto at the Malibu Cafe on New Year’s Eve because Asorto got in an altercation inside the bar and was removed. He was trying to talk his way back inside when Basalt officers arrived with an Eagle County deputy sheriff. He was apprehended without incident. It is not believed that Asorto saw the victim from the robbery in the bar.
After Asorto confessed, he consented to a search of his room at a residence in the Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park. Curry said an officer found a distinctive green jacket with a fur-lined hood in the room. There was also an Aspen Times newspaper with a story and image of the 7-Eleven robber, according to Curry.
The large kitchen knife used in the robbery wasn’t found. Asorto told authorities he pitched it in the Roaring Fork River, Curry said. He allegedly stole between $50 and $60 in the robbery.
Curry said he called the victim on New Year’s Day to tell her Asorto had confessed and was arrested. “She was just really, really happy,” he said.
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Development in Basalt barely skipped a beat in 2020 despite the coronavirus. It’s expected to be busier next year.