Police seek suspects in crime cases
Police may have made a major breakthrough in solving the recent crime spree in Aspen and Snowmass.
Arrest warrants have been issued for several suspects allegedly connected to the wave of armed robberies and burglaries over the past two months, according to sources close to the case.
No arrests had been made as of Thursday evening, so details linking the suspects to any of the crimes were unavailable.
One suspect authorities are pursuing is Jacob Richards, son of Aspen Mayor Rachel Richards, according to sources knowledgeable about the investigation. Richards and the other suspects – whose identities were unavailable – are thought to have fled to Canada, according to sources.
Aspen Police Chief Tom Stephenson and Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills would not confirm the reports.
“We have developed some leads that look promising, and we’re aggressively pursuing those leads,” Stephenson said of the investigation.
“We’re receiving an ever-increasing amount of information, much of which seems credible and accurate, but following up on those leads is tedious and time consuming,” he added.
Stephenson said a task force – made up of detectives from the Aspen Police Department, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Snowmass Village Police Department – is spearheading the investigation.
Because the crimes remain under investigation, he would not comment further on the cases.
However, he said yesterday that he contacted the Garfield County Crimestoppers – the agency that issued a $3,000 reward for information about the armed robberies – and said it will likely increase that reward money and expand its scope to include the 10 burglaries in Aspen.
Sources said local authorities have not determined whether the recent armed robberies are in any way related to the 10 burglaries that took place at downtown Aspen businesses early Monday morning. The armed robberies took place Aug. 5 at Clark’s Market; Aug. 6 at Aspen Alps Condominium Association; and Aug. 19 at The Village Market in Snowmass Village.
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Mario Ruiz came to Aspen Highlands from Bariloche through the ski patrol exchange as part of the Sister Cities program last winter. He quickly ingrained himself with the Highlands patrol. Ruiz was killed July 27 in an avalanche while working at his home ski area. The Highlands patrol is raising funds for his family.