Suspects arrested in Clark’s robbery
Three suspects allegedly linked to the August 5 armed robbery of Clark’s Market in Aspen have been arrested and are in custody, while another two suspects remained at large as of Sunday evening.
Jacob Richards, 18, son of Aspen Mayor Rachel Richards, surrendered himself to authorities Friday evening, whereupon he was arrested for five felonies – first-degree burglary, theft, first-degree motor vehicle theft, and two counts of second-degree motor vehicle theft – related to a burglary of a Twining Flats Road residence last week, according to authorities.
“Jacob Richards was served with an additional warrant [Sunday], for conspiracy to commit armed robbery, related to the Clark’s market armed robbery,” Aspen Police Chief Tom Stephenson said yesterday.
Yury Ognacevic, 18, of Aspen, surrendered to authorities at about 6 p.m. Sunday. An Aspen Police Department warrant alleges Ognacevic committed “felony theft, aggravated robbery, and conspiracy” related to the Clark’s robbery, according to a jail official,.
Another suspect allegedly connected to the Clark’s robbery – a juvenile whose identity is not available – is in custody in Grand Junction at a juvenile detention center, Stephenson said. The suspect will be charged with “armed robbery,” Stephenson said. Armed robbery and aggravated robbery are synonymous.
“Additionally, there are arrest warrants issued for (two) other individuals, related to the Clark’s Market armed robbery, who currently are not in custody,” Stephenson said.
Those two suspects face felony armed robbery charges as well, Stephenson said.
“My understanding is that Jacob (Richards) is the only one only charged with conspiracy [to commit armed robbery],” he said. “The other four are being charged with armed robbery and associated counts.”
One of the two suspects still at large is a juvenile, he added. Sources indicated that all the suspects involved are local teen-agers.
In the armed robbery of Clark’s Market, three masked gunmen held up the grocery store, located at 300 Puppy Smith St., for a “large amount of cash” at closing time on Aug. 5.
Local authorities apparently broke the case early last week, when Nathan E. Morse, 18, of Aspen, was arrested in Boulder County for aggravated motor vehicle theft. The Jeep that Morse was driving reportedly harbored three shotguns and a black ski mask, and had been stolen from the Aspen City Market parking lot in early September.
Authorities allege that Morse, Richards and two others were involved in a Twining Flats Road residence burglary, which occurred either Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, according to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Joe DiSalvo. Firearms and a Range Rover were stolen in the burglary, he said.
Five of the six charges against Richards relate to that burglary, DiSalvo said.
“Morse, Richards and two other guys were involved in that burglary,” he said, “and there are warrants out for the two others.”
DiSalvo would not comment about whether those two suspects are being sought by the Aspen police as well. Nevertheless, Morse is not a suspect in the Clark’s armed robbery investigation, Stephenson said.
Morse, who had been in custody at the Boulder County Jail since Tuesday, was transferred to an unspecified jail Saturday, according to Boulder Jail officials. Sources close to the investigation said authorities arranged for Morse to be held elsewhere, in order to prevent contact between him and Ognacevic and Richards, and any other suspects arrested in the near future.
Stephenson would not comment about what, if any, connections exist between several of the burglary and robbery crimes committed in the last six weeks. On Aug. 6, the night after the Clark’s Market holdup, the Aspen Alps Condominium Association was hit by two masked gunmen, and on Aug. 19, three masked gunmen held up The Village Market in Snowmass Village. A week ago today, in the early morning hours of Sept. 20, 10 businesses in the downtown Aspen area were burglarized.
“We have some very promising leads in the other crimes and we’ll be developing our case in the next few days … We expect that there will be more arrests soon,” he said. “We’re investigating each criminal episode individually.”
Richards is being held at the Pitkin County Jail on a $75,000 bond. Ognacevic is being held on a $50,000 bond. It’s likely that both men will be advised in court this morning, authorities said.
In a written statement addressing the allegations against her son Jacob, Mayor Richards said: “The entire matter is in the hands of the justice system, and both Jacob and I wish to see it fully resolved.”
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