Police solve Basalt Christmas caper
December 26, 2008
BASALT ” Basalt and Eagle County police officers teamed to solve a Christmas caper and prevent three alleged burglars from completing a heist early Friday.
“A couple of guys were trying to be Scrooge,” said Sgt. Stu Curry of the Basalt Police Department.
An Eagle County deputy sheriff pulled over a Jeep Cherokee with a headlight out near the El Jebel fire station at around 1 a.m. Friday, according to police reports. The deputy was suspicious after the stop because tucked among the four occupants of the vehicle were three computers, a stereo and various tools. The men weren’t forthcoming about what they were up to, so the deputy called Curry, who was on duty for Basalt, for help questioning them.
Curry said he fired up one of the lap-top computers and found it belonged to Will Vannice, a midvalley resident. He drove to Vannice’s house, woke him up, and they drove down to Vannice’s nearby place of business, Daly Property Services. They discovered that the office had been burglarized and numerous items stolen.
Curry said the driver of the vehicle, Alex Telles, 18, of Glenwood Springs, turned out to be cooperative. He explained he was acquainted with one of the passengers, Jose Castillo, who had asked him for a ride to pick up some stuff.
Telles allegedly told the officer he had taken them to the Basalt business and waited in the Jeep while they retrieved some items. Based on that information, police were able to arrest men identified as Castillo, 21, as well as Javier Arelleno Rocu, 21, and Jose Alvarez Lopez, 21. They were charged with second-degree burglary and theft, both fourth-class felonies. The three men were taken to the Eagle County jail where they are being held on $50,000 bond each.
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Curry said none of the three men appeared to have been employed by the property service company in the past, although they had some way of entering the office without breaking in.
“There had to be some inside knowledge,” Curry said. “They didn’t pick this business at random.”
Curry said he didn’t charge the driver for the burglary because he was cooperative and claimed he wasn’t aware of the other men’s intent. The District Attorney’s office will review the case and determine if charges were warranted for Telles for the burglary. Telles was charged with traffic infractions by the deputy sheriff, Curry said.
The men were headed toward the Blue Lake subdivision when they were stopped. Curry said it’s possible that police might have prevented another activity as well as recovered Vannice’s goods. He estimated that the items taken from Vannice were worth between $5,000 and $8,000.
“That would have wrecked that guy’s Christmas,” Curry said.