Teen starts trial today for Aspen Alps robbery | AspenTimes.com

Teen starts trial today for Aspen Alps robbery

John Colson

The second trial of a local teen alleged to have been involved in last summer’s crime spree begins today.

Thomas Colver, convicted recently on drug charges unrelated to the crime spree, is accused of being one of two young men who robbed the Aspen Alps condominium complex at gunpoint.

The robbery took place on Aug. 6, 1999, only one day after an armed robbery at Clark’s Market in Aspen and two weeks before another armed robbery at the Village Market in Snowmass Village.

While Colver is not accused of being involved with the Clark’s or Village Market robberies, he is believed by police to be part of a group of local teenagers who committed those crimes as well as several burglaries and car thefts in August and September of last year.

Of the 12 local youths charged in connection with the series of crimes, only three have opted to go to full trials by jury to decide their fate. Two of those are Colver, 19, and Anthony Rizzuto, 20, who police say committed the Alps robbery together.

A third, Stefan Schutter, 18, was convicted earlier this month on charges that he helped rob the Village Market at gunpoint on Aug. 19. He still faces trial on charges that he also was one of five young men who planned and committed the Clark’s Market robbery.

According to police, Rizzuto rushed into the office at the Aspen Alps around 10:30 p.m. that night and forced the clerk to hand over all the money in two cash drawers.

One of the cash drawers, according to an affidavit filed in court on Friday, was located in a safe. And according to the clerk, Renee Ryan, “The suspects seemed to know exactly where the safe was located,” stated Colver’s arrest affidavit.

Ryan told police that two men dressed in black, wearing black knit caps and white scarves over their faces and armed with at least one handgun, came through the lobby and into the office where she was on duty alone that night. Another employee had left minutes earlier.

Drawing a gun from a pocket, one of the robbers motioned Ryan to the safe and told her to open it. She was only able to open the top section of the safe, which contained a cash drawer that the robbers emptied. According to the affidavit, when Ryan said she did not have the combination to the main section of the safe, one robber said, “You better tell me now, or I’ll shoot your head off.” She then pointed out another cash drawer, which she had brought in from the lobby desk shortly before, and one of the robbers emptied that drawer as well.

The two, according to court documents, made off with $1,066.

Colver was arrested on the drug charges on Aug. 14, when a car he was riding in was stopped for speeding and a search by police turned up marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms.

But his name, as well as Rizzuto’s, had already come up in the investigation into the various crimes that had already taken place.

Most of the evidence in the case against Colver has come in the form of statements made to police by various suspects in the case. Several of those suspects, who already are serving prison terms for their roles in the crime spree, will be in court this week to testify as to what they heard about Colver’s alleged involvement in the Alps robbery.

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