Carbondale robbery suspects elude officers in manhunt near Basalt |

Carbondale robbery suspects elude officers in manhunt near Basalt

Law enforcement officials stopped this RFTA bus at Holland Hills east of Basalt on at about 9:20 a.m. Tuesday, The driver reported that he thought the two suspects in a Carbondale armed robbery on Thursday were among the passengers in the downvalley-bound bus.
Scott Condon / Aspen Times

Two men suspected of an armed robbery in Carbondale last week eluded numerous law enforcement officers during a manhunt Tuesday in the hills east of Basalt.

By 6 p.m., Pitkin County authorities advised residents that the suspects remained at large.

“The search continues for robbery suspects in the Basalt area, who may still be armed,” a Pitkin County alert said. “Please be vigilant for two 19-year-old black males, one 5’-6”, and the other 6’-0“, both average weight. The suspects may exit the rural area between Basalt and Old Snowmass, onto to Highway 82 or River Road. We remind all residents to follow basic personal security practices (lock homes and cars). Please report any suspicious behavior by calling 911.”

The search began after a driver for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority reported that two men matching the description of the Feb. 16 armed robbery of a convenience store had boarded his bus at the Intercept Lot at the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road at about 9 a.m.

The downvalley-bound bus was pursued by Pitkin County deputy sheriffs and Snowmass Village police while Basalt police were prepared to intercept it in the midvalley. The bus was pulled over at Holland Hills. The bus driver posted on Facebook that the men hightailed it out of the bus.

“They jumped out an emergency window and ran off chased by oodles of police with shotguns,” the driver wrote. “That’s a first.”

Officers on foot and in vehicles chased the suspects through the Roaring Fork Club golf course. The two men then headed up a steep hillside covered with pinyon and juniper trees.

Officers soon followed up the hillside and they had the suspects in sight, according to Pitkin County Sheriff Jo DiSalvo. The officers in the field reported later in the morning that they had lost sight of the men and believed they were headed east, or toward Aspen.

The search was focused during the afternoon along and adjacent to the popular Arbaney Kittle Trail, about 2 miles east of Basalt.

DiSalvo confirmed that officials believe the two men are the suspects in the robbery. The men used a handgun to rob two employees at the Valero Cowen Center Convenience Store. They obtained an undisclosed amount of cash.

Carbondale police obtained arrest warrants earlier this week for 19-year-old Nicholas Alexander Ameral and Benjamin Weeks, also 19, for aggravated robbery.

Officers said they found a wallet belong to Ameral on the RFTA bus Tuesday.

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