Second arrest in copper theft case

Police arrested a second man earlier this week in connection with a load of copper scrap stolen from the driveway of a residence in Snowmass Village, according to court documents.

Elmer Carrillo-Rodriguez, 35, of Carbondale, now faces a felony theft charge in connection with the theft, which occurred Sept. 20 or 21, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed Tuesday in Pitkin County District Court.

Snowmass Village police initially charged another man, Enrique Garcia-Hernandez, 48, of Carbondale last week with the theft after linking him to the sale of the copper at a Glenwood Springs recycling yard, according to documents filed in connection with his arrest.

Garcia-Hernandez received about $3,400 from the recycling yard for the copper, the documents state.

Garcia-Hernandez turned himself in at the Aspen Police Department on Sept. 28 after his wife and others saw an article in The Aspen Times detailing the pending charges against him. He told officers at that time he bought the scrap from Carrillo-Rodriguez for $600, according to Carrillo-Rodriguez’s affidavit. Garcia-Hernandez said Carrillo-Rodriguez didn’t sell the copper himself because he was “evidently unaware of what to do with copper and where to take it,” the affidavit states. Pressed further by an officer, Garcia-Hernandez admitted Carrillo-Rodriguez’s behavior was suspicious.

Later questioned by officers, Carrillo-Rodriguez, who works for a landscaping company that services the Snowmass Village home where the copper was being stored, admitted to taking the copper, though he said a man at the property told him it was trash and he was welcome to it, according to the affidavit. He couldn’t provide any other information about the man, and the owner of the scrap denied giving anyone permission to take it.

The owner of the copper later reported receiving a phone call from Carrillo-Rodriguez’s cellphone in which a man said he was in trouble with the police and offered to pay him “the money he was out,” the affidavit states. Carrillo-Rodriguez had provided officers the number earlier that evening in case they needed to reach him.

The felony theft charge filed against Garcia-Hernandez had not been dropped or amended as of Thursday. An Aspen prosecutor said Thursday he was still reviewing the case.