Teen may get probation
Alex Cassatt, one of a dozen local young men linked to a crime spree last year, might avoid a prison sentence for his crimes.
Cassatt, 19, is due in court for sentencing today. He is facing a possible term of probation, if a local judge follows the recommendation of the 9th Judicial District Probation Office. He would be the third of those convicted in connection with the crime spree to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.
According to court records, Cassatt was present at, and minimally participated in, no less than five different break-ins or attempted burglaries in the late-night hours of Aug. 4 and 5, 1999.
He has pleaded guilty to one felony, conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary, in connection with one of those crimes, a break-in at the Take 2 Video store in Aspen.
But according to Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills, Cassatt also has admitted to being on hand for burglaries or attempts at the Last Stand eatery at the Iselin Park sports complex, the Airport Liquors store, the Main Street Bakery and the Stapleton Sports sporting goods store in Aspen.
In a lengthy statement to court officials, Cassatt described his activities that night, often contradicting a co-defendant, Cody Wille. Wille, 17, has already been sentenced to a three-year term at the Youthful Offenders Services facility in Pueblo for his part in an armed robbery at the Clark’s Market grocery store in Aspen.
According to Cassatt’s statement, on the night of Aug. 4 he gave a key to the Take 2 store to two other local young men, Moses Greengrass and Jacob Richards, who planned to burglarize the store that night. Cassatt was working at Take 2 at the time.
The four teen-agers were driving around town in Wille’s car that night after breaking into the Last Stand. After dropping Greengrass and Richards off, Cassatt and Wille parked near the Main Street Bakery, with plans to break in, Cassatt said.
Cassatt said Wille crawled in an open window at the bakery, but was interrupted when someone drove up to the back of the bakery and went in. Wille ran out a side door before being spotted, and the two drove around some more, Cassatt reported.
They stopped near the Stapleton Sports store, he continued, where Wille tried to get in but could not. It was after that unsuccessful attempt that they ended up at the Airport Liquors store, where Wille tossed a brick or stone through a glass door and went in to steal some booze, Cassatt said.
During each of these incidents, according to Cassatt, he either waited outside as a lookout or, at the Stapleton store, walked away while the attempt was made. He admitted helping Wille load the stolen liquor bottles into the car, but testimony from others involved in the spree has supported his claim of minimal involvement in the crimes and reluctance to take part.
In addition, according to Cassatt, Wille was lying when he recounted conversations between the two of them and Greengrass and Richards, in which Wille said Greengrass and Richards egged them into committing crimes. Cassatt said the break-ins were Wille’s idea.
Probation officer Susan Cashel has recommended Cassatt be sentenced to three years of probation, that he perform 80 hours of useful public service, and that he spend 10 days in the Pitkin County Jail. Cassatt has not spent any time in jail since turning himself in in December.
Cashel also recommended Cassatt undergo treatment for what she termed “a history of mental problems and marijuana abuse.”
Two other defendants in the multilayered case have received probation – Nathan Morse and an unnamed minor. Another five have been sent to prison for varying terms.
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