Second suspect ID’d in $100k Aspen jewelry store robbery | AspenTimes.com

Second suspect ID’d in $100k Aspen jewelry store robbery

Aspen police have identified a second member of a group suspected of stealing $100,000 worth of jewelry from an Aspen store more than a year ago, according to court documents.

An Aspen police detective positively identified the first member of the suspected crew this spring and a District Court judge signed a warrant for the man's arrest at that time. On Thursday, District Judge Chris Seldin signed a second arrest warrant related to the case, this time for a woman.

The Aspen Times honored a request by the District Attorney's Office last spring and is not identifying the man or the woman because they have not yet been arrested.

The robbery occurred Sept. 12 after three women in their 30s or 40s entered Christopher Walling Jewelry on East Hopkins Avenue, followed soon after by an older man and woman. Video surveillance later showed the older man and subject of the arrest warrant take a pair of aquamarine and white gold earrings valued at $21,750 and a pair of pearl earrings valued at $28,000 from a case while a saleswoman was distracted by the other people, according to the arrest warrant affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.

One of the younger women — described as heavy-set with reddish brown hair — was caught on video taking a pendant that featured diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds and gold valued at $45,240 from another case, again, while the saleswoman was distracted.

Police initially reported that the saleswoman caught the older man swiping a bracelet and grabbed it back from him before ordering the couple out of the store. The older woman began to make a scene about being accused of theft, though both left the store, Aspen police said at the time.

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Aspen Detective Ritchie Zah was able to positively identify the subject of the male arrest warrant after a detective in another city described as an expert in crimes committed by the "gypsy community" recognized the man, the affidavit states. Two of the women in the Aspen robbery were described by the saleswoman as appearing "gypsy-like," according to the affidavit.

The man is charged with felony theft and has previously been arrested for robbery and felony larceny by other police departments in the United States, his warrant states.

Zah discovered in April that the same man had been arrested by state patrol officers in another state just three days after the Aspen theft, according to the woman's arrest warrant. That report also included the license plate number of the rented minivan the man was driving.

The rental van was dropped off by the female subject of Thursday's arrest warrant in another city in October, which led Zah to her phone number on the rental contract. From there, the detective received search warrants for that phone number and another associated with her, as well as an email address, according to her warrant.

Her cellphone records showed she was in Aspen and Pitkin County during the time of the theft, while the woman's social media account displayed a picture of her wearing the same blouse she allegedly wore during the Aspen robbery, the warrant states. Pictures of the woman supplied by federal authorities also matched surveillance photos from the Aspen robbery.

The woman is charged with one count of felony theft.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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