Value of stolen Aspen jewelry less than one-fifth the price
Restitution in 2017 robbery at nearly $18K for pieces priced at $95K
The jewelry Arthur Harris admitting stealing on Monday from a downtown Aspen boutique in September 2017 was priced at nearly $95,000.
He won’t, however, have to pay back even one-fifth of that amount as part of his plea deal with the District Attorney’s Office.
That’s because the actual value of the two pairs of earrings — on sale for just under $50,000 — and the bejeweled pendant — which retailed for slightly more than $45,000 — he and his crew stole from Maja du Brul Jewelry was exactly $17,909.14, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Don Nottingham. The difference might speak to retail jewelry prices in Aspen, he said.
It certainly came as quite a shock to Harris’ lawyer.
“I’m just hearing for the first time what the restitution is,” public defender Scott Troxell said.
Troxell said he planned on asking for a seven-year probation sentence to give Harris time to pay off the tens of thousands of dollars he expected to owe. The new price point altered those plans, and Troxell requested a shorter sentence.
Harris, 54, pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft Monday and was sentenced to four years supervised probation. He will likely be extradited to Santa Barbara, California, where he will face theft charges for a similar operation committed there, according to Troxell and previous media reports.
“I committed theft in a jewelry store, your honor,” Harris said Monday after District Judge Chris Seldin asked him what he did. “(I took) earrings and a brooch … in the amount of $95,000.”
Harris was extradited to Aspen from Reno, Nevada, after he was arrested there in September on a Pitkin County warrant. He’s been in the custody of the Pitkin County Jail during the 168 days since then.
A woman named Maya Kvek and two other women entered the store in the 300 block of Hopkins Avenue and distracted a saleswoman while Harris stole the two pairs of earrings. One pair was aquamarine and white gold, while the other featured pearls.
The saleswoman later identified Kvek — and video surveillance backed her up — as the person who stole the pendant, which was made of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds and gold. Police believe all five people operated as a team.
Kvek pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft in September 2020, was given credit for the 101 days she served in the Pitkin County Jail and was sentenced to two years of supervised probation, which was transferred to Brooklyn, New York, where she was from. Kvek also pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property in Santa Barbara.
She was not ordered to pay restitution in the Aspen case.
Harris also requested that his probation be transferred back to his home of Brooklyn, which Seldin granted Monday.
Seldin also noted that others allegedly involved in the theft were not apprehended, and said he felt the time Harris served in jail couple with probation was a reasonable sentence.
A district court judge Thursday dismissed the remaining criminal counts against the owner of a Basalt-based chiropractor office who had been under grand-jury indictment for allegedly cooperating with one of his massage therapists accused of sexually assaulting clients.