Man accused of stealing food, chairs cleared of charges
The Aspen Times
Updated October 2017: A judge in this case dropped all the charges against Gregory John Mears in March 2014.
The Aspen Times’ earlier story is below.
A local man spent Tuesday night in the Pitkin County Jail after being accused of charging food on an Aspen meat-market account that didn’t belong to him and also stealing chairs from a consignment shop while he was drunk.
Gregory John Mears, 44, whose residence is listed as Basalt but who shares an apartment in Aspen with his girlfriend, faces one count of misdemeanor theft. The arresting officer, Aspen policeman Jeff Fain, initially listed the charge as a felony, but police records show that the alleged crime was downgraded.
Mears posted $1,000 bail and was released from jail late Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday afternoon, the publisher of Aspen Essential magazine, Roy Piubeni, went to Aspen police to report a fraud, according to Fain’s affidavit in support of a warrantless arrest.
Piubeni told police that in exchange for magazine advertising, he has a “trade deal” with The Butcher’s Block, a food market on South Spring Street. He said he recently went to the store and was informed that the account was overdrawn, the affidavit states.
After reviewing the account, Piubeni “saw many purchases that were not his,” Fain wrote.
The magazine publisher told police there were only two people who knew about the special account, his ex-wife and her boyfriend, later identified as Mears, the affidavit says.
As Fain investigated the matter further, he learned from Piubini’s ex-wife that the apartment she shares with Mears contained two purple, cast-iron chairs that she believed were stolen from Aspen Home Consignment on Main Street, Fain wrote.
“(She) said that she asked Mears about the chairs and he stated that he had stolen them one night when he was drunk and walking home about two weeks previous,” the policeman said in the affidavit.
After interviewing the consignment-shop owner, Fain went to the apartment and found the chairs, which the owner valued at $150 each. He arrested Mears just after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the affidavit states.
Mears faces a court appearance on Jan. 14. He was later cleared of all charges on March 4, 2014, and the case was dismissed.
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