Second Basalt robbery suspect faces charges

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A second suspect in a Nov. 28 armed robbery of a Basalt homeowner was charged with five felonies in Eagle County District Court last week.

Sergio Sanchez Jr., 24, of Rifle, was charged with at-risk robbery, aggravated robbery/menacing with a deadly weapon, burglary, theft of $20,000 or more and menacing with a weapon, according to a spokeswoman for the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Sanchez also faces a misdemeanor charge of theft less than $500, she said.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office picked Sanchez up in January on an arrest warrant from the Basalt Police Department. He is in custody in Garfield County Jail on numerous unrelated charges in that county. A jail administrator said Sanchez also is in custody on suspicion of criminal violations in Pitkin County. He is being held without bond, the official said.

Sanchez was transported to Eagle County for an April 16 hearing in the Basalt robbery case and was taken back to Garfield County Jail after the hearing. His next hearing in Eagle County is scheduled for May 14. He hasn’t entered a plea and doesn’t have an attorney but has applied for a public defender, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

There was no immediate explanation for the delay between Sanchez’s arrest and advisement of the charges he is facing in the Basalt robbery. Court officials previously explained that when suspects facing charges in multiple jurisdictions on suspicion of unrelated crimes, it takes time to sort issues out and transport them to all jurisdictions pursuing charges.

The other suspect in the Basalt robbery, Michael Charles Hawkins, 24, of Parachute, is in custody in Eagle County Jail on the same charges as Sanchez. He was arrested in December.

A second Parachute man was arrested in connection with the robbery, but the Eagle County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against him when co-workers at a Rifle-based sanitation business testified that he was at work when the robbery occurred in Basalt. However, that man provided information that connected Hawkins and Sanchez to the crime, police said.

The robbery occurred at a residence on Riverside Drive in Basalt shortly before noon on Nov. 28. Police investigators said at the time that they believed the suspects were committing a burglary and didn’t realize that the owner was home at the time. Here’s what happened, according to a statement of facts Basalt police filed to obtain the arrest warrant:

The homeowner had just gotten out of the shower and was blow-drying her hair when she heard a “loud crash” inside the house. She was leaving her bathroom when she was met by an unknown man who pointed a “small” handgun at her. The man with the gun demanded money while a second man, who kept his head and face covered with his sweatshirt, collected some of her belongings.

The man with the gun ordered the homeowner to sit on a seat in her shower and remain there for five minutes after they left. He said that “if she called the police they would come back and kill her,” the officer’s statement said. The woman waited about five minutes, then went to a neighbor’s house and called authorities. She was unharmed physically but was traumatized by the incident.

The perpetrators stole a women’s Rolex watch valued at $20,000, a sapphire and diamond ring valued at $24,000, an iPad and an iPhone 5, which proved to be a costly mistake.

Roughly two hours after the crime, one of the victim’s sons was using an Apple “Find My iPhone” application to track his mom’s phone. He tracked the phone to Rifle and then found it on the move on Highway 6 and 24 traveling west toward Parachute. A Basalt officer was given the log-in information to the application so he also could track the phone, the statement of facts said. The phone ultimately ended up in a Parachute home where Hawkins rented a room, according to police. Basalt officers obtained a search warrant on Nov. 29 and allegedly found a Bersa .380-caliber handgun under a dresser in Hawkins’ room as well as an iPhone 5 on a shelf in the room. Police said it was the phone stolen from Basalt.

Police arrested the Parachute homeowner Nov. 30, but he told them they were making a “big mistake,” according to the statement by police. He told them he learned from his sister that Hawkins told her about the robbery. Hawkins allegedly fathered a child with the man’s sister, and Hawkins rented a room in his house. The Parachute man also told police that Hawkins told his sister that Sanchez was involved in the robbery, as well.

Glenwood Springs police arrested Hawkins, who is scheduled to go to trial June 25 on charges related to the robbery.

Basalt police obtained a warrant Dec. 4 to search Sanchez’s room in a house in Rifle. They allegedly found the stolen ring in a dresser drawer and found a backpack with two handguns in a nearby shed. The Basalt robbery victim identified one of the handguns, a Taurus revolver, as the one pointed at her. Sanchez allegedly fits the woman’s description of the man who pointed the gun at her, according to police.

No details were available on Sanchez’s arrest.