Police now have eight in custody
The eighth suspect in a string of recent robberies in the Aspen area, Moses Greengrass, turned himself in to police yesterday, bringing to a close the first round of arrests in the complicated set of related cases.
But law enforcement officials said there are likely to be more arrests in connection with the crimes, which include the armed robberies of the Clark’s Market in Aspen, the Snowmass Village Market and the Aspen Alps condominium complex, as well as the burglary of a home on Twining Flats Road.
The suspects allegedly netted nearly $30,000 in cash from the robberies, and are accused of taking weapons and a car from the home.
A total of eight local teen-agers, many of them from well-known local families, are being rounded up and charged with involvement in one or more of the crimes. Some of the suspects, including Greengrass, fled to British Columbia, Canada, at one point to avoid arrest, but were convinced by relatives to return and give themselves up.
In addition, investigators said Tuesday that warrants are being prepared in connection with two robberies of the Stage Three theater in Aspen earlier this year. Authorities said some of the same “players” involved in the recent crimes are also popping up in connection with the theater robberies.
Greengrass, 18, was wanted on charges of taking part in all three of the recent crimes as well as possibly a Stage Three hold-up. He turned himself in to the Pitkin County jail Tuesday morning, accompanied by his local attorney, Pipp Porter.
Greengrass, who is charged with 10 felonies, was then sent to the Garfield County Jail to await a hearing before Judge J.E. DeVilbiss. Suspect threatening suicide There presently are four inmates at the Pitkin County Jail being held on charges connected with the string of crimes. They include Jacob Richards, 18, son of Aspen Mayor Rachel Richards; William “Wade” Hammond, 18; Yuri Ognacevic, 18; and Anthony Rizzuto, 19.
Rizzuto was being held in the Garfield County Jail, but according to officials was being returned to Aspen on Tuesday after reports that he was threatening to commit suicide.
Presently being held in other facilities are Greengrass at Garfield County; Nathan Morse, 18, at the Eagle County Jail; and Stefan Schutter, 17, at the Grand Mesa Youth Detention Center in Mesa County.
The only suspect in the tangled knot of cases who has been arrested but is currently out of jail is Cody Wille, 17, whose family arranged with a bail bondsman to pay his $50,000 bond.
One suspect in the Aspen Alps robbery remains at large, and apparently authorities have yet to issue a warrant for his arrest. However, his name has been mentioned by more than one of the other suspects in connection with at least two of the crimes.
And, according to officials associated with the investigation, still others may be charged in connection with these crimes and other burglaries committed recently in the Aspen area. Jail filling up The sudden rash of arrests has put a strain on the local jail, which is approaching its capacity of 26 inmates.
“It’s difficult keeping these kids separated,” said Pitkin County jailer Billy Tomb on Tuesday, confirming that authorities are trying to segregate the suspects to prevent them from talking amongst themselves about the cases.
Tomb indicated the jail staff has managed to keep the inmates physically separated, although he said he “can’t guarantee” that they aren’t communicating with notes or through the intercession of other inmates. Tangled web of cases According to police, the suspects acted in various combinations to rob the two grocery stores, the condominium complex and burglarize the house in August and September.
Court documents indicate that Schutter, Wille, Greengrass and Ognacevic pulled off the Clark’s Market robbery, with help from Richards in the planning stages, on Aug. 5. Rizzuto and another youth, still at large, were at the Aspen Alps heist on Aug. 6. Schutter, Greengrass and Hammond were involved with the Village Market robbery on Aug. 19. And Greengrass, Morse, Rizzuto and Richards burglarized the Twining Flats home on Sept. 20.
The burglary occurred, police say, just as the suspects were planning to flee with two stolen cars, weapons and cash from the robberies and burglary. Their plans were foiled, however, when Morse was arrested Sept. 21 in Boulder after he ran a red light and was pulled over in a stolen car.
The next court date in the case is scheduled for Oct. 18 in Aspen.
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