Unclear if high-end liquor thief hit Aspen
A 40-year-old Texas man who stole thousands of dollars worth of high-end liquor from shops in Snowmass Village and Basalt earlier this week may also have robbed a store in Aspen, police said Friday.
However, Aspen police hadn’t received any theft reports by Friday afternoon from Aspen liquor stores, despite hearing that the man was caught on video at one shop, said Deputy Aspen Police Chief Bill Linn.
Snowmass Village Police Chief Brian Olson said the man – identified as David Tiberious Rougeau of Spring, Texas – has probably left the area after hitting at least three stores in Snowmass Village and Basalt on Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re certain he’s left the area,” Olson said. “There’s absolutely no reason to believe he stopped.”
Police believe Rougeau was likely moving east, and hit as many liquor stores as he could while dressed as a construction worker. Olson called the man’s tactics “impressive” and said he slickly dropped the bottles down his baggy pants.
Indeed, video released by Snowmass Village police on Friday showed the man doing exactly that.
Clearly, he has some sort of set-up underneath his baggy jeans that prevents the bottles from coming out the bottom, said Sgt. Dave Heivly of the Snowmass Village police.
For example, Rougeau was just three-to-four feet away from the cashier at Sundance Liquor & Gifts in Snowmass Village on Tuesday when he dropped a 1.75 liter bottle of wine valued at $749 down his pants, Heivly said. He used the customer in front of him as a shield, he said.
Three minutes later, Rougeau dropped another 1.75 liter bottle of wine worth $749 down his other pant leg, Heivly said. And just seconds after that, he dropped a 750 mililiter of wine valued at $222 down his pants, he said.
Rougeau then left the store, returning two minutes later and swiping two bottles of Dom Perignon Rose valued at $499 each from a cooler and dropping them into his pants, according to an arrest warrant. The thefts occurred just after 4 p.m. Tuesday.
“He’s so smooth,” Heivly said. “He’s a pro.”
Rougeau also stole a $325 bottle of Johnny Walker Blue scotch from the Daly Bottle Shop in Snowmass Village, the warrant states.
Two hours before that, he stole a $2,500 bottle of Louis XIII cognac from Jimbo’s Liquors in Basalt, according to the warrant.
Heivly said the total amount of liquor stolen from the three shops was $5,543.
Police were able to identify Rougeau after the manager at Sundance Googled “high end liquor thief in pants Texas” and discovered nearly identical thefts from Abilene, Texas in October 2014.
Snowmass Village police were able to obtain a driver’s license picture of Rougeau from Abilene police, and two witnesses were able to identify him, according to the warrant.
District Court Judge Gail Nichols later signed an arrest warrant for Rougeau.
Heivly said it was unlikely that an alcoholic would be stealing such high-end liquor, and that Rougeau may be trying to sell the items. He said Rougeau – who may be driving a black, four-door Dodge sedan – may be headed home to Texas.
“What he did was so brazen, it’s hard for me to believe he’d be dumb enough to stick around,” Heivly said.
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International visitors have traditionally accounted for 10 to 20 percent of Aspen Skiing Co.’s skier visits in recent past seasons. Travel fears and restrictions tied to the coronavirus are expected to wipe out most of that market for 2020-21.