Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

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March 8, 2014
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Fourth arrest made in Basalt robbery case

A fourth arrest has been made in a Basalt home invasion case.

The arrest came Feb. 27, after investigators kept asking questions of the three men already implicated in the Nov. 28, 2012, robbery. Pablo Castillo Gomez, 24, of Garfield County, was arrested after Eagle County Sheriff’s Office Det. Daniel Loya pieced together more of the story about the burglary of a home on Basalt’s Riverside Drive.

Castillo Gomez was charged with six felonies — theft of $20,000 or more; theft/receiving $20,000 or more; second-degree burglary; accessory to crimes; pawnbroker-false information by seller; and forgery by check or commercial instrument. He is being held in Eagle County Jail on $100,000 bond.

In an affidavit in support of an arrest warrant, Loya wrote that two of the defendants in the robbery case identified Castillo Gomez as the alleged driver of the getaway car. He also allegedly claimed at a pawnshop in Grand Junction that the stolen items belonged to him, the affidavit said.

Loya wrote that defendant Sergio Sanchez agreed to an interview while he was being held in jail on Jan. 23. At that point, Sanchez had pleaded guilty to charges including aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, but he hadn’t been sentenced yet.

Sanchez told Loya that the day of the robbery started with a simple trip from the Rifle area to Glenwood Springs to buy some marijuana. He said he made the trip with Michael Hawkins, Rafael Vega-Sanchez and Castillo Gomez. After buying the pot, they were eating in a fast-food chain in Glenwood when they decided to pull off a “B&E,” slang for a breaking and entering of a residence, the affidavit said. They decided to drive up the Roaring Fork Valley to find a house to burglarize, the affidavit said.

“Sergio said their plan was to drive around and look for a home which appeared like no one was home,” the arrest affidavit said.

They ended up in a nice neighborhood in Basalt and selected a specific house because it allegedly looked like no one was home and a large tree in the front yard obscured the view of the front door, Sanchez told the investigator.

Sanchez claimed he gave Vega-Sanchez his .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol and that Vega-Sanchez and Hawkins went into the house while he and Castillo Gomez stayed in the car.

Prosecutors handling the case didn’t believe that Sanchez stayed in the car. At Sanchez’s sentencing on Feb. 26, Deputy District Attorney John Franks said investigators and prosecutors believed Sanchez entered the house with Hawkins and pointed the pistol at the head of the woman who lived there after she came out of a bedroom and surprised them. They threatened to kill her and ordered her into a bathroom when they fled. She escaped physical harm but was traumatized by the event, authorities said.

While authorities didn’t believe Sanchez stayed in the car, the value of his information was identifying Castillo Gomez as the getaway car driver, authorities said. Sanchez also told Loya that the other men sold the jewelry they stole from the Basalt house to a pawnshop in Grand Junction.

The arrest warrant information said Loya also interviewed Vega-Sanchez and confirmed that Castillo Gomez drove the car and helped sell the stolen merchandise. Castillo Gomez allegedly claimed to the pawnshop worker that the merchandise was his.

Castillo Gomez was picked up 15 months after the robbery was committed and after the three other men were convicted and sentenced.

Sanchez was sentenced to 30 years in prison and Hawkins received 24 years in prison. Vega-Sanchez was sentenced to six years in a youth detention facility because he was 17 years of age when the robbery occurred.

Franks said he believes all the men involved in the Basalt home invasion have now been arrested, based on current information.

Castillo Gomez is due in court on March 18 for further proceedings in his case.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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