Police nab theft suspect – again | AspenTimes.com

Police nab theft suspect – again

Joel Stonington

Aspen police arrested a man with a pages-long arrest record – 22 since the beginning of 2005 – on suspicion of stealing an ATM card and withdrawing $1,000.

“He’s freshly out of prison, returned to town and apparently back to his old ways,” said Aspen Police Sgt. Bill Linn. “Currently he’s being held on a parole violation.”

However, Jeffrey Key will be served with a warrant next week that Aspen detectives believe will put him behind bars for at least the next five to 12 years.

Last summer, Key was on probation for previous thefts. Part of that probation subjected him to random drug tests. He showed up to one of those tests with a bag of urine strapped to his thigh, and was thus arrested.

During a subsequent search of his house, police found items that had been reported stolen. They also found a handgun.

“He goes into unlocked cars,” said Aspen Police Detective Chris Womack. “From sunglasses to the change in the ashtray, you name it, he’s stolen it before.”

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But the evidence in the house was inadmissible because there was no search warrant. So Key pleaded guilty to a felony handgun violation and a probation violation. He did some prison time, got out on parole with a five-year suspended sentence and arrived back in Aspen around mid-July.

According to police, on Aug. 11, a woman at the Lava Room had her wallet stolen along with a friend’s cell phone. Within an hour of the reported theft, someone went to Alpine Bank and withdrew $1,000 with her card.

“We were able to get video from the ATM that shows a white male, with a shirt over his face, drawing money from the ATM,” Womack said. “The shirt fell, revealing his face. It appears to be Jeffrey Key.”

Aspen police arrested Key after an Aug. 23 traffic stop and found the stolen phone in his car.

Officers also took pictures of various items in the car that they thought might be stolen.

On top of the five-year suspended sentence police believe Key will now serve, he will also face three felony charges: theft, unauthorized use of a credit card and possession of two or more stolen credit cards, which likely will make the years in prison add up.

Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com