Porsche-driving thief gets 21 days in jail
A 60-year-old Woody Creek woman with a history of shoplifting will spend three weeks in jail and two years on probation for stealing a $4,100 pullover from a downtown shop nearly three years ago.
Jillian Epstein White — also a New York resident — apologized for her actions and told District Court Judge Chris Seldin she only wants “to help myself.”
“I’m sorry for all of the present or past crimes, if you want to call them (that),” White said. “I didn’t move here to commit crimes.”
White was arrested in April and charged with felony theft after an employee at Brunello Cucinelli recognized her as the person who stole a brown, suede pullover valued at $4,145 from the store two years earlier. At the time, the employee ordered White to leave the store, while other employees followed her to a Porsche SUV and recorded its license number, according to a police report.
Police used the license number and booking photos from White’s three previous Aspen-area arrests to track her down and arrest her at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.
White pleaded guilty in January to misdemeanor theft — the felony theft count was dismissed — as part of a plea deal that capped jail time in the case at 45 days. On Monday, prosecutor Andrea Bryan detailed White’s lengthy criminal history, including six arrests for theft-related offenses, and urged Seldin to put her behind bars for the entire 45 days.
“What kind of message are we sending … if she can go away without even a single day in jail?” Bryan asked. “A jail sentence should be required here.”
White was arrested in 2006 for allegedly stealing patio furniture, Bryan said. In June 2008, she allegedly stole two pairs of sunglasses valued at $434 from the Sunglass Hut in Aspen, according to court documents. In May 2013, White admitted to stealing two cans of coconut water from Roxy’s Market at the Aspen Business Center, documents state.
Then in January 2015, White was caught on surveillance video at the St. Regis Hotel stealing a black faux leather coat. And, finally, just days before she was arrested for the Brunello Cucinelli theft nearly a year ago, New York City police arrested her for allegedly stealing a Givenchy purse, Bryan has said.
“There’s very significant kleptomania she’s dealing with,” Bryan said. “Her mental state does not absolve her of criminal liability.”
Eric Franz, White’s New York attorney, told Seldin that White lived 49 years before she developed problems that led to the criminal charges, though she only was convicted once — for petty theft. Those problems included loneliness, a traumatic brain injury and mental-health issues, he said.
She has now embraced her problems and has a plan to treat them, Franz said.
“Jail may do a huge disservice to the progress Ms. White is making,” Franz said. “To Jill White, one day (in jail) is unimaginable.”
Seldin, however, said he felt a jail sentence was appropriate and imposed the 21 days. White also must remain sober and will be tested for drugs and alcohol, must take an online class about shoplifting and continue any mental-health treatment she is prescribed, he said. In addition, she must perform 150 days of community service.
Finally, White cannot commit any new offenses, the judge said.
“That’s going to be the challenge,” Seldin said.
Seldin allowed White to get her affairs in order and report to the jail March 28.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
The majority of COVID-19 public health order complaints in Aspen have been around masks, restaurants and social distancing.