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Most serious drug count dropped against Lipseys

An Aspen prosecutor dropped a bombshell in court Monday morning in the case against two Aspen parents accused of giving cocaine to a 17-year-old.

Deputy District Attorney Don Nottingham said he would drop the most serious charge of distribution of cocaine to a minor filed against both Joseph Lipsey III, 56, and his wife, Shira Lipsey, 44, because there’s not enough evidence to support it. The charge would have carried a mandatory minimum prison term of eight years upon conviction and a maximum of 32 years.

“(The) investigation has been somewhat stymied,” Nottingham said. “At this moment, there’s not a reasonable chance of success at trial with the details we now have on that count.”

Nottingham said he will file a motion to dismiss the cocaine distribution charges against the Lipseys by next week. Charges filed against the couple’s son, Joseph Lipsey IV, 19, did not change Monday, though he was not facing the severe penalties his parents faced. 

Shira Lipsey and and son Joseph Lipsey IV.
File photos

“When this case broke all over the media was that the Lipseys are drug dealers,” said Yale Galanter, Joseph Lipsey III’s lawyer and the lead attorney in the case against the family. “Today …  (the prosecutor) agreed to dismiss (the cocaine distribution charge) indicating they are not.”

The development “totally changes the complexion of the case,” Galanter said. 

“They were looking at a minimum mandatory eight years in prison,” he said. “Now they’re looking at probation. It’s huge.”

Galanter praised Nottingham for taking a close look at the case and making an honest assessment of the facts Monday. He also said he’d like to revisit the $100,000 in cash each Lipsey posted as bond in order to be released from the Pitkin County Jail in March. 

Joseph Lipsey III and Shira Lipsey still each face three felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and three misdemeanor counts of serving alcohol to minors.

Joseph Lipsey IV, who was also in court with his parents Monday, has been charged with two counts of felony distribution of drugs, felony contributing to the delinquency of a minor, four counts of possession of a controlled substance and other misdemeanor charges. He also is facing two counts of felony vehicular assault after crashing his parents’ Tesla with four other teenagers in the car in November. 

Suspects in Edwards bank robberies announced engagement before alleged crime binge

The FBI didn’t have much trouble finding the woman suspected of trying to rob two banks in the Edwards Riverwalk on May 1.

Karen Sophia Hyatt, 33, was in the Adams County jail for drug possession and ID theft. When she posted her $2,500 bond on June 25, FBI agents grabbed her on bank robbery charges, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office said.

The FBI says Hyatt and Craig “Lucky” Dickson, the other suspect in the Edwards incidents, announced their engagement on April 8, 2019, in a Facebook post, then took part in five bank robberies in the next 30 days.

The FBI checked Hyatt’s and Dickson’s cell phone records and found that they were together — as engaged people like to be — at the scene when banks were robbed in Denver, Boulder, Centennial and on May 1 in Edwards, where Hyatt is suspected of asking tellers at Wells Fargo and US Bank for money with a hand-written note, according to an FBI arrest affidavit.

Photo from the bank security footage.
Courtesy Eagle County Sheriff Office

“Based on their intimate relationship and past associations, it is reasonable to believe they would be traveling in each other’s company,” the FBI’s arrest affidavit said.

Bank security photos matched photos on their Facebook pages, as well as their criminal mugshots, the FBI said.

Then there were the eyewitnesses. Metro Denver Crimestoppers received three anonymous calls from witnesses all independently naming Karen Sophia Hyatt as the Edwards bank robber, the FBI said.

As for the Edwards bank robberies, Hyatt got away with $9,734 in cash from Wells Fargo, the FBI said.

The tellers in the Edwards US Bank branch did not understand what Hyatt wanted. When they took longer to respond than she wanted, Hyatt snatched back the note and left the bank with nothing, the FBI said.

If convicted, Hyatt faces 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.

Crime spree started at 4:20

The alleged spree started at 4:20 p.m. Friday, April 12, when Denver police officers were called to the TCF Bank on Broadway for a bank robbery in progress.

The teller told officers a man was waiting in line. When it was his turn he did not speak, but handed over a note saying, “Give me all the money in your drawer, I need all the $50s and $100s. No GPS,” according to the FBI.

The teller was frightened and handed over all the money in her drawer, which included a covert tracking bundle, the FBI said.

The robber again told the teller, “I need the $50s and $100s.”

When the teller told the robber that was all the money, he more forcefully repeated, “I need all the $50s and $100s.” The teller opened a bottom drawer, took out some large-bill currency and handed it over, the FBI said.

The robber quickly left the bank and fled on foot with $1,304 in cash … and the covert GPS tracker. The robber apparently disabled the tracker, but hung onto it, and was picked up by an accomplice driving a dark blue Chevy Malibu.

A witness showed police a phone the robber might have dropped while fleeing the scene. When the FBI searched it, agents found several selfie photos, which Denver police checked against their criminal mug shots and social media.

Another quick check found that the phone had been used for web searches about “bank robbery,” the FBI said.

That phone was used to contact Dickson and a female the FBI later determined was Hyatt. Communications on that phone continued up to the minutes prior to that April 12 robbery in Denver, the FBI said. Among them are indications that Dickson is a member of the 211 Gang, a white supremacist prison gang, and had spent some time in a Colorado prison. Dickson’s criminal history includes drug distribution, robbery, kidnapping, motor vehicle theft, eluding police and burglary.

The FBI says security photos from a Tuesday, April 30, 2019, Boulder bank robbery indicate that that the perpetrator was likely Dickson, and that he might have used makeup to cover his neck tattoos.

Two Edwards bank jobs

The FBI says it appears Hyatt and Dickson ventured away from the Denver Metro area and into the mountains on May 1 for the two bank robberies in the Edwards Riverwalk at Wells Fargo and the US Bank.

A female, whom the FBI says was Hyatt, entered both banks about three minutes apart and handed tellers a robbery note demanding cash.

The Wells Fargo robbery was successful and Hyatt left with $9,734 in cash, the FBI said.

The US Bank robbery was not, the FBI affidavit said. The tellers were confused, so Hyatt snatched back the note and fled on foot.

Hyatt appears on the Wells Fargo security camera footage at 9:02 a.m. May 1, and on the US Bank security camera at 9:05 a.m.

“Hyatt’s most recent mug photo, taken March 3, 2019, bears a strong resemblance to the robber in the Wells Fargo Bank photographs,” the FBI said.

The FBI says Hyatt is a multi-state offender with arrests for things like possession of burglary tools, motor vehicle theft, vehicular eluding and drug possession.

Her attorney, Richard Stuckey, appointed in June to represent Hyatt, did not respond to requests for comment.


Crime briefs: Fight near Safeway, Grand Ave. Bridge vandalism and alleged child exploitation

Stick turned into a deadly weapon, according to cops

Glenwood Springs Police were called to the old Safeway building near Wendy’s on Grand Avenue Monday evening after reports of a man bleeding from the head.

The alleged victim was bleeding from a cut over his right eye, and said he had been attacked by another man in front of the Safeway building, police wrote in an affidavit.

The victim told police the fight started when the suspected attacker made a comment about a sexual act with the victim’s girlfriend.

The victim began walking toward the suspect, telling him to not talk to his girlfriend that way.

The suspect said the alleged victim was drunk, and when he started walking toward him, he said he had two choices: Stop walking toward him or “get his a– beat,” the suspect told police.

Both men agreed that the suspect struck the alleged victim more than once in the head with a 3.5-foot stick, “made from the limb of a tree,” according to the affidavit.

Part of the stick was taped with some kind of material for padding, police said, making it easier to cause bodily harm.

The suspect has been charged with second-degree assault.

‘Owner’ of Grand Avenue Bridge arrested for painting sidewalk

Glenwood Springs police arrested a man who claimed to own the Grand Avenue Bridge and surrounding restaurants for painting the sidewalk.

Police arrived at the underside of the bridge Tuesday evening and found a 40-year-old man rolling paint on the sidewalk.

The man “stated that he was painting his property because it was ugly,” an officer wrote in an arrest affidavit.

The officer told the man he was damaging Glenwood Springs property, but the man said he “didn’t care, because he owned the whole city as well,” the officer wrote.

Police found foil that appeared to be used for drugs and other small items on the suspect, who said that was all he had on him.

At the jail, however, Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies found marijuana folded into plastic.

Explicit video found on man’s work phone

A man accused of child exploitation turned himself in to authorities this week after a months-long investigation regarding pornography on his work phone.

Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies received calls of possible exploitation in April, according to court records.

The call came from the former employer of the 27-year-old suspect after an illicit video of sexual acts on a young female was found on the man’s work phone.

The suspect was fired from his job weeks later over the video, and denied knowing how it got onto his Google Drive, according to the affidavit.

Garfield County Sheriff’s investigators contacted the man in June, at which time he said he believed someone else had accessed his account and downloaded the video.

After he changed his password, he saw a phone logged into his account that he didn’t recognize.

The suspect reported to authorities July 8, and has since been released awaiting further court proceedings.

tphippen@postindependent.com

Aspen robber may be part of notorious ’90s Aspen crew; ‘person of interest’ has been arrested

A 38-year-old man who participated in an armed robbery at Clark’s Market in Aspen 20 years ago was arrested late Thursday night for robbing the Theatre Aspen concession stand at knifepoint Tuesday, police said Friday. 

Yuri Ognacevic, of Snowmass Village, was also charged with two recent purse snatchings in Aspen’s downtown core. He faces one count of felony aggravated robbery, two counts of felony theft and a misdemeanor charge of theft, according to a Friday news release from the Aspen Police Department.

“Officers were able to contact Ognacevic Thursday evening and he agreed to come to the police department, where he was taken into custody,” the release states. He is being held at the Pitkin County Jail in lieu of a $15,000 cash-only bond. 

Ognacevic was identified after Aspen police released still photos and a video clip of him taken Tuesday night at Rubey Park just before one of the purse snatchings, the release states. The video, in particular, was valuable because the high quality footage allowed officers to see that the man had a shaved head and was wearing a watch on his left wrist “with a Fitbit style tracker on his right wrist,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court. 

The two purse snatchings occurred at outdoor restaurant seating areas in downtown Aspen when a man on bicycle rode past and grabbed the purses hanging from the back of chairs.

Several people called police to identify Ognacevic, including one person who saw him riding his bicycle in Aspen on July 3, the date of the first bike purse snatching.

“(The person) found it odd that he was riding a bike in Aspen because (the person) believed he lived in Snowmass and that he was typically ‘anti-social’ and didn’t like to be in town on a busy night with a lot of people in town,” the warrant states. 

An Aspen police officer who knows Ognacevic personally also recognized him from the photos and video, according to the warrant. In addition, a photo on Ognacevic’s Facebook page shows him wearing the Fitbit fitness tracker on his right wrist. 

Finally, the three Theatre Aspen concession stand workers identified Ognacevic as the armed robber after viewing the photos and video, the warrant states.

The warrant provided more details of the concession stand robbery, which occurred about 9 p.m. Tuesday, just before intermission of Theatre Aspen’s production of “Guys and Dolls.”

One of the employees, a 22-year-old woman, said she saw the man enter from the east side of the theater tent with his face and hands covered, though she could see him holding a knife with a 2-3-inch blade. 

A 19-year-old woman, at the stand said the robber was “holding a small blade in her face, demanding the money,” according to the warrant.

“(The woman) held up the cash drawer and he took the cash,” the warrant states.

The identification of Ognacevic – described as a white male, 6-feet-2-inches tall, 185 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes – will likely strike a chord with Aspen residents who lived in town in 1999 and the early 2000s. 

Ognacevic was one of 12 local teens – sometimes known as “Aspen’s Dirty Dozen” – eventually implicated in an eight-month-long string of armed robberies and burglaries in Aspen and Snomwass Village in 1999. The crimes included two armed robberies at Stage 3 Theatres, using guns to steal cash from Clark’s Market in Aspen, pistol-whipping a store clerk at a market in Snowmass Village and several burglaries of businesses and private homes, according to media reports. 

Many of the dozen teens were well-known members of longtime local families.

Ognacevic was 18 when he pleaded guilty to felony robbery for taking part in the armed robbery at Clark’s Market. He also admitted to being involved in the burglary of a video store and supplying an unloaded .22-caliber rifle for one of the robberies, according to media reports.

Ognacevic served less than a year at a minimum security prison in Canon City, then finished his sentence in a halfway house, according to a 2003 Aspen Times story. At the time he reflected on his recent criminal past and said he wanted to join the military. 

“It was a temporary lapse of pro-social thinking,” he told The Times in 2003. “We were doing bad stuff that we thought was just mischief, but it crossed the line and we realized that afterwards.”

Ognacevic’s Linkedin profile identifies him as an EMT and a ski patroller and a Carbondale resident, though that information is dated, Linn said.

He graduated from Aspen High School where he was active in hockey and cross-country athletics, according to a 2003 Aspen Times story.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

Man arrested for offering candy to kids at Steamboat campground

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A 60-year-old man who was arrested in Steamboat Springs for offering candy to children and inviting them to his campsite at a local campground has been released from Routt County Jail. 

The man, who was staying at the KOA Campground on the west end of town, was booked into the jail June 29 on suspicion of enticing children, a felony, according to an arrest affidavit obtained from the Routt County Justice Center.

A judge ordered the man’s immediate release after determining there was no probable cause he committed a crime, according to justice officials.

Steamboat Springs Police Department officers responded to a report of a disturbance at the campground the evening of June 29. Employees there wanted help evicting the man from the property after several guests complained about his behavior toward children.

At least three witnesses spoke with officers about the incident. Penny Leon, a Front Range resident, was visiting Steamboat with her daughter and grandchildren, ages 8 and 5. 

According to Leon, the man approached the two children and asked them to come with him to his tent, where he claimed to have a plastic container of Skittles. 

“That absolutely made the hair stand up on the back of my neck,” Leon said. 

She refused to allow her grandchildren to follow the man and kept close watch over them.

“It made us all very uncomfortable,” Leon said.

She also saw the man approach several boys and girls at the campground’s swimming pool. 

She overheard him tell the children, “I know secrets that adults can’t know,” which is corroborated in the arrest affidavit. The secret was the container of Skittles at his campsite. 

When officers confronted him, he claimed he was offering the candy to the kids because it’s his favorite.

“He stated he was going to leave the container outside all day and night and any kid who wanted some could come by and grab as much as they wanted,” according to the affidavit. 

About three children took some candy without their parents around, the man claimed, but they did not go inside his tent.

When officers asked the man if he saw anything wrong in his offering candy to young children without their parents around, he appeared shocked, according to the affidavit, claiming he only wanted to speak with them. 

Based on this information, officers believed they had probable cause to arrest the man and take him into custody. A judge disagreed and ordered his immediate release from jail, according to justice officials, claiming there was not enough evidence to arrest him.

In an email, District Attorney Matt Karzen said his office is conducting an investigation of the case. An internal review is scheduled for July 22, according to justice officials. 

The man’s name is being withheld because he was not formally charged with a crime.


Armed man in disguise robs Theatre Aspen concession stand (Video)

A man in disguise who used a knife or a screwdriver to rob the concession stand at Theatre Aspen on Tuesday night remained at-large Wednesday evening.

However, despite the fact that the man had not yet been caught, pictures released of him Wednesday morning led to numerous tips from the public, and police were following several leads to try and find the robber, Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn said.

“We made strong advances today,” Linn said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m optimistic we will break the case quickly.”

Video

The bizarre-for-Aspen crime occurred about 9 p.m., and witnesses described the robber as a white male wearing a baseball cap, glasses, a flannel shirt, something covering his hands and a bandana over his face, Linn said.

He declined to say how much money was stolen, and he said no one was injured in the incident. Another source said the robber made off with $250.

“Employees of the concession stand were approached by a man wearing a mask and disguising his identity,” according to an APD news release. “The man demanded money from the cash register. The three employees complied with the demands.

“Officers canvassed the area but were unable to locate the suspect.”

The weapon used was “edged,” though there was some discrepancy over whether it was a knife or a screwdriver, Linn said.

Jed Bernstein, producing director of Theatre Aspen, said the robbery occurred about 10 minutes before intermission of the company’s production of “Guys and Dolls.” The man flashed the weapon, forced a concession stand employee to show him the money in the cash register and fled with $250.

“The first thing to say is that what happened with completely unexpected and scary for everybody,” Bernstein said. “Safety is the number one thing and we take that really seriously.”

The police’s news release linked the armed robbery to two purse snatchings that occurred in recent days in the downtown core.

The first of those happened about 8 p.m. July 3, when a man riding a bicycle grabbed a purse hanging from the back of a chair in the outdoor seating area of Kirby Ice House, 307 S. Mill St., according to the release.

A nearly identical crime occurred just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, when a male bicyclist snatched another purse from the back of a chair, this time at Casa Tua, 403 S. Galena St., and kept riding down the street, the release states.

Three surveillance video photos from Rubey Park accompanied the news release, which came out Wednesday morning. Linn said the man pictured was seen Tuesday at Rubey Park just before the Casa Tua purse snatching. The man generally fits the description of the Casa Tua robber, he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Aspen police also released a video of the man taken Tuesday night at Rubey Park just before the Casa Tua purse snatching.

“Descriptions gathered from victims and witnesses are consistent enough to suggest (all three incidents) are associated,” according to the second APD news release.

Bernstein praised the three young people on duty at the concession stand and said they kept their heads, gave up the money and were able to continue on and serve beverages to the audience, which was mostly unaware of the robbery, during intermission.

“I’m proud of my staff at the concession stand,” Bernstein said. “They gave up the money and called police.

“As theater folks like to say, ‘The show must go on.’”

Bernstein was able to rule out one class of people as suspects, however.

“The reviews have been so positive (for “Guys and Dolls”) that I think we can be fairly certain it wasn’t a disgruntled audience member,” he said.

Bernstein and Linn emphasized that the event was unusual and that the Theatre Aspen tent and surrounding area near Rio Grande Park are safe, despite the fact that police had not yet caught the man.

“An armed robbery and a purse snatching?” Linn said. “We’ve never had that here before. It’s surprising.”

Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor also sought to reassure the community Wednesday.

“We understand these are unusual crimes to occur in Aspen and that members of our community will be concerned,” he said in a second news release. “These appear to be crimes of opportunity …”

The last armed robbery in Aspen occurred in May 2016, when a then-21-year-old local man used a hammer to rob a marijuana dispensary near City Market then fled across country in a stolen SUV.

Anyone who recognizes the man in the photos of the recent robberies can call Aspen Police at 970-920-5400 or text tips to 970-274-4128.

Armed man in disguise robs Theatre Aspen concession stand

A man wearing a mask used a knife or a screwdriver to rob the concession stand at Theatre Aspen on Tuesday night, police said Wednesday.

Witnesses described the man as a white male wearing a baseball cap, glasses, a flannel shirt, something covering his hands and a bandana over his face, Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn said.

Linn declined to say how much money was stolen, though he said no one was injured in the incident.

The armed robbery occurred about 9 p.m. at the Theatre Aspen concession stand near Rio Grande Park, police said.

“Employees of the concession stand were approached by a man wearing a mask and disguising his identity,” according to a news release from Aspen Police. “The man demanded money from the cash register. The three employees complied with the demands.

“Officers canvassed the area but were unable to locate the suspect.”

The weapon used was “edged,” though there was some discrepancy over whether it was a knife or a screwdriver, Linn said.

The news release linked the armed robbery to two purse snatchings that occurred in recent days in Aspen’s downtown core.

The first of those happened about 8 p.m. July 3, when a man riding a bicycle grabbed a purse hanging from the back of a chair in the outdoor seating area of Kirby Ice House, 307. S. Mill St., according to the release. 

A nearly identical crime occurred just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, when a male bicyclist snatched another purse from the back of a chair, this time at Casa Tua, 403 S. Galena St, and kept riding down the street, the release states. 

Three surveillance video photos accompanied the news release. Linn said the man pictured was seen Tuesday at Rubey Park just before the Casa Tua purse snatching. The man generally fits the description of the Casa Tua robber, he said. 

In addition, the description of the armed robber “is not inconsistent” with the man pictured in the Rubey Park photos, Linn said.

Anyone who recognizes the man in the photos should call Aspen Police at 970-920-5400 or text tips to 970-274-4128. 

Man uses his house key to enter Aspen woman’s home twice

A 44-year-old Aspen man was ordered to stay away from his female neighbor Tuesday after he was arrested for allegedly entering her locked apartment twice in the past week, according to court documents.

Jonathan Quitasol faces one count of felony first-degree criminal trespassing. And while he denied to police officers that he was the one who entered the woman’s apartment, he admitted that his key also opened her door, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.

The woman told police that her male roommate has been out of town and that about four days ago she was alone in the apartment when she heard someone open the locked door and come inside, the affidavit states. The woman said the person turned on all the lights, and she heard the person walk downstairs to where the bedrooms are located.

“The person then turned all the lights off and left the apartment,” the affidavit states. “She never saw the person.”

Then at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, the woman heard the person enter the locked door again, come downstairs and turn the lights on, according to the affidavit.

“She could see the light under her door and could hear the person breathing,” the document states. “This person then left the apartment without turning off the lights.”

The woman then called police and went upstairs, when she heard her neighbor’s door close, according to the affidavit. She then knocked on Quitasol’s door and told him what happened.

At that point, Quitasol “mentioned that his key opens her door lock as well,” the affidavit states.

Quitasol later told police he has known his key opens the neighboring apartment for about 10 years, according to the document.

Quitasol denied entering the woman’s apartment and became angry when an officers suggested he might have done so. However, the officer noted in his report that after he handcuffed Quitasol, he “never contested to me that he was being falsely arrested,” the affidavit states.

Quitasol has no criminal history, prosecutor Luisa Berne said Tuesday.

Pitkin County Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely entered a protection order forbidding Quitasol from contacting his neighbor and ordered him to enter a sobriety monitoring contract. He was ordered released on a $3,000 personal recognizance bond.

In other crime news:

• Aspen police arrested a “very intoxicated” 59-year-old man Monday night after he allegedly urinated in front of people outside Paradise Bakery, according to a police report.

A witness told police that Nathan Aldrich also allegedly yelled obscenities at a group of teenage girls and shouted at others waiting in line at the popular ice cream spot at the corner of Galena Street and Cooper Avenue just before 10 p.m., the report states.

An 18-year-old woman told police that Aldrich “pulled out his penis and began urinating in front of people,” according to the report.

In Pitkin County Court on Tuesday morning, Aldrich denied exposing himself or urinating in front of others.

“I was just having some fun, your honor,” he said. “I didn’t mean to insult anybody.”

Aldrich was charged with public indecency and harassment and released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.

• An unknown person went behind the bar at Escobar on Friday and stole five credit cards, police said Tuesday.

The theft was reported about 8:45 p.m., though there has been no evidence that the cards had been used since they were stolen, said Linda Consuegra, assistant Aspen police chief.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

Man accused of stealing SUV from Vail hotel has 37-page criminal history

EAGLE — A Florida man was already an escapee from Colorado’s prison system when he allegedly stole an SUV at knifepoint Friday night from a Vail hotel.

Evan Reichert, 33, has a 37-page criminal history that began in 2005 in Florida with larceny, narcotics, burglary, probation violations and other crimes, prosecutors said during Reichert’s first court appearance Monday afternoon.

He migrated to Colorado in 2011 where his criminal behavior continued.

“He has been on a 14-year crime spree that has not stopped,” Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi said.

Most recentlyin Eagle County District Court, Reichert earned a six-year sentence after a felony conviction. Lombardi said Reichert lasted 26 days before he walked away from community corrections, a halfway house where prisoners are allowed to hold down a job in the community.

That made Reichert an escapee from the state prison system when he allegedly pulled Friday’s automobile theft, Lombardi said.

Besides being charged with attempted murder for allegedly threatening people with a knife while stealing the SUV, Reichert is accused of kidnapping a victim, running from police in a stolen vehicle, burglary and a host of other felonies, Lombardi said.

With his prior felony convictions, Reichert could be classified as a habitual criminal, Lombardi said.

“He’s looking at more than 100 years in the state Department of Corrections, which would be the rest of his natural life,” Lombardi said.

‘I didn’t try to murder anybody’

Reichert told Judge Rachel Fresquez that he does not understand the attempted murder charge.

“I didn’t try to murder anybody,” Reichert said, appearing on a video call from the Eagle County jail, where he is being held on $150,000 bond.

Judge Fresquez responded that the charge claims he demonstrated “universal malice manifesting an indifference toward human life.”

Four prosecuting attorneys and three Vail police officers were in court Monday for Reichert’s first appearance.

What police say happened

The 911 call came into the Vail Public Safety Communications Center at 8:20 p.m. Friday that a man wielding a knife had stolen a 2019 Chevrolet Suburban from a valet at the Vail Marriott Mountain Residences.

Officers were on the scene in moments. Police say Reichert fled in the SUV but crashed it into a fence at the rear of Vail’s Ritz Carlton, the next hotel up the street, near Forest Road and Vail’s South Frontage Road. He abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot, running back into the Marriott where police momentarily lost contact with him.

Law enforcement officers from several agencies surrounded the building and immediately started a systematic search.

They found Reichert at 10:30 p.m. Friday near the rear of the Marriott at the bike path along Gore Creek.

He was transported to the Vail Health hospital where he was examined, then taken to the Eagle County jail.

Judge Fresquez scheduled final charges to be filed by July 15. Reichert is back in her court at 1:30 p.m. July 16.

4 men wanted for allegedly transporting cockfighting roosters through Summit County

SILVERTHORNE — Arrest warrants have been issued for the four men caught transporting roosters across state lines and through Summit County earlier this year, alleging the birds were raised for cockfighting.

Cody Lance Smith, 28, of Kentucky; Kenneth D. Dotson, 29, of Kentucky; Austin Clanton, 26, of Tennessee; and Jose Saltos Jr., 42, whose residence is unverified, have been charged with felony animal fighting and misdemeanor cruelty to animals after a Colorado State Patrol investigation determined the men were transporting cockfighting roosters.

On May 15, three men were pulled over by State Patrol along Interstate 70 near Silverthorne due to driving with unreadable temporary tags on their truck. State Patrol troopers discovered something suspicious almost immediately.

The men had packed 33 roosters inside the truck in homemade wooden boxes measuring 7 inches in width and height and 14 inches long. The boxes were stacked on top of each other, and there was no food or water for the birds in the vehicle, according to the affidavit in support of an arrest warrant. State Patrol troopers also noted that the truck’s trunk was covered in the roosters’ feces and urine, and they called the stench “overwhelming.”

According to the affidavit, three of the men — Smith, Dotson and Clanton — said they were transporting the birds and the truck to California to their friend, later identified as Saltos.

The birds were taken into the care of Summit County Animal Control and Shelter, where the animals were examined. The birds were looked over by a veterinarian and put in individual kennels with water and food. Upon further inspection, some of the boxes in which the roosters arrived had blood on them. The animal shelter also told troopers that 17 of the roosters had clipped or missing spurs — a defensive claw-like growth.

State Patrol officers reached out to representatives with Colorado State University and state agencies who said the cut spurs on the birds were consistent with fighting roosters and that the transportation of the birds was uncommon and inhumane.

Investigators with State Patrol claimed the men gave inconsistent accounts of who owned the birds and whether they were getting paid to transport the vehicle to Saltos. According to the affidavit, all parties denied owning the birds during the initial stop, though Smith later tried to claim ownership to get the birds back. The document also states that Smith threatened legal action against the animal shelter.  

John Cogorno, an attorney named in the report, told investigators he was representing Saltos and Dotson. Corgorno’s office did not immediately return calls or an email for comment. 

The men have been charged with animal fighting, a class 5 felony, and misdemeanor cruelty to animals. The felony charge is punishable by up to three years in prison. Once arrested, the men will be able to post a $5,000 bond set by Judge Edward Casias, according to a news release.

“Cockfighting is a very brutal sport that is outlawed in every state,” District Attorney Bruce Brown said in a statement. “Animals rely on us for their daily care and are not to be used as instruments of death for sports-betting pleasure.”

The District Attorney’s Office said there was no direct information tying the accused to any actual cockfights, though possession or transportation of roosters knowing they will engage in fighting is considered criminal conduct. According to the Colorado Revised Statutes (18-9-204), no person can encourage a fight between two animals, determined by if an individual “owns, trains, transports, possesses, breeds, sells, transfers, or equips an animal with the intent that such animal will be engaged in a fight.”

The Summit County Animal Shelter officials initially were hopeful the birds could be adopted out or re-homed to other shelters, but they ultimately decided against the move based on the recommendation of the state veterinarians office and experts with Colorado State University.

Dr. Keith Roehr, the state’s veterinarian with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, said cases involving game birds often deal with fighting, and he noted the birds presented an “elevated risk” of a variety of avian diseases that made it impossible to place them with bird rescues or into other facilities around the state.

The Summit County Animal Shelter cared for the roosters for about three weeks. On June 4, the birds were euthanized and tested for avian diseases under the supervision of a veterinarian from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services.