Suspects nabbed for Basalt thefts |

Suspects nabbed for Basalt thefts

BASALT ” A man and woman suspected of swiping a credit card from a vehicle in Basalt and then going on a spending spree that topped $20,000 were arrested in Denver on Thursday, according to Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda.

The couple might have unlawfully entered seven vehicles in Basalt last Saturday and Sunday nights, according to Ikeda. The trespassers allegedly stole everything from an iPod and a gizmo designed to boost gas mileage to pricey outdoor clothing and a wallet containing two credit cards and a debit card, he said.

It was the theft of a local’s ski pass that led to the arrest of the couple, according to information Ikeda received Thursday. The chief recounted the following information: Denver police received a report of a “suspicious couple” from the front desk clerk of a Denver hotel. The license plate of the vehicle the couple were driving came back to a van stolen in Oregon. While examining the vehicle, Denver police found someone else’s ski pass and contacted law enforcement officials in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Aspen police are investigating whether the couple are tied to illegal entries of numerous vehicles in the upper valley last month, Ikeda said. The names of the suspects weren’t available Thursday. Aspen police said they had no comment on the case at this time.

In Basalt last weekend, four vehicles were unlawfully entered on Gold Rivers Court near downtown, one on Swinging Bridge Lane, one on Homestead Drive and one on Village Court. In each case, the vehicles were unlocked, so the charge would be criminal trespass, Ikeda said.

The thieves picked over items in a way that baffled cops. For instance, they took the time to collect $3 in coins from one vehicle but spurned the pennies. In another vehicle, they hauled in $10 in change, including pennies.

Lip balm and body cream attracted their interest at one vehicle, along with L.L. Bean duck boots. They stole the keyless entry of another vehicle.

A punch card for parking at Aspen Skiing Co. lots was stolen and apparently used since the weekend, Ikeda said. It isn’t known yet if the ski pass was used.

The thieves had expensive tastes. The stolen credit card was used for purchases in high-end boutiques in Aspen like Christian Dior and Prada as well as at least two jewelry stores, according to Ikeda. Charges in Aspen alone totaled about $20,000, he said. The credit card also was used in Snowmass Village and Glenwood Springs before use was denied in Silverthorne. It wasn’t immediately clear if more than one card was used.

Ikeda said the couple arrested in Denver matched the description of the couple who were using the stolen credit card in the valley. The couple are in their mid-20s and the woman was apparently memorable. “I guess she had a prominent gap between her front teeth,” he said.

An officer from the Aspen Police Department will lead the investigation of the thefts, according to Ikeda. The agencies affected, which could include Aspen, Pitkin County and Snowmass Village in addition to Basalt, will coordinate efforts and eventually consult with the District Attorney’s Office, he said.

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