Basalt cops say bartender’s Facebook post helped identify burglary suspect
The Aspen Times
A bartender’s post on Facebook helped Basalt police identify a suspect in the Nov. 27 burglary of Brick Pony bar and restaurant.
Images of an intruder that were captured by the bar’s surveillance cameras were posted onto the bartender’s personal Facebook page. The bartender asked friends if they recognized the man.
Within two days, the owner of the bar and restaurant said approximately 10 people had identified the suspect as Selig Haarklou, 39, of Basalt, though none of them wanted to go “on the record,” according to an affidavit by Basalt Police Sgt. Aaron Munch in support of an arrest warrant for the suspect.
Munch also contacted Pitkin County Deputy Sheriff Anthony Todaro, who was listed as a “friend” of Haarklou on Facebook. Munch sent photos of the burglar from the Brick Pony’s surveillance system to Todaro. The deputy responded he was “80 percent” sure it as Haarklou.
Todaro later came to the Basalt Police Department at Munch’s request and watched a video of the intruder at the bar and confirmed the identity of the suspect. “That’s definitely him,” Todaro said, according to the arrest affidavit.
The burglary occurred shortly before 9 a.m. on Nov. 27 when someone entered the business on Midland Avenue in Basalt through a back door of the kitchen. A bank bag was taken off the bar while the owner was working on paperwork in the basement, according to the police report. The bag had the personal money and credit cards of the owner. The bank bag for the business was also on the bar but it wasn’t taken. The man dropped the bank bag at the back door as he fled. He took the cash but left the credit cards, the affidavit said.
The owner was unsure how the intruder had gotten in because the back door has a “strange lock” that takes some special maneuvers to open, Munch wrote.
Surveillance cameras in the business captured video of the intruder. Police used still images from the video on their Facebook page and in newspapers in an effort to identify the burglar.
In addition to the identifications from the bartender’s Facebook page, Munch followed a couple of other leads from independent sources. They also identified Haarklou as the suspect, according to the affidavit.
While on patrol Nov. 29, Munch found a vehicle that was registered to Haarklou’s wife parked at 100 Midland Ave. in a spot designated for unit 103. He and another officer entered the unit and introduced themselves to a construction worker working on the apartment. They heard noise upstairs and assumed it was another construction worker, according to the affidavit.
The worker they first encountered provided them with the contact information for the owner of the apartment and then they left. Munch later contacted the owner and learned that Haarklou had been hired to paint the unit.
“I then realized the person upstairs with Ivan was probably Haarklou,” Munch wrote.
When they returned to the apartment, the car belonging to Haarklou’s wife was gone. The other construction worker said Haarklou had just left but was coming back later that day.
Haarklou called Munch while he was still in the apartment building and expressed he was “disgusted you would call all these people and show them a picture you think is me,” according to Munch’s affidavit. “He felt I was in some way overstepping my bounds by trying to track him down.”
Munch said Haarklou asked him why he wanted to talk to him and Munch responded they should talk in person. They were unable to arrange a meeting. Munch’s affidavit said he received a fax on Dec. 5 from Glenwood Springs criminal defense attorney Lawson Wills informing him that he represented Haarklou. The fax requested that all future contact be routed through him, but Munch said Wills wouldn’t call him back.
Munch sought the arrest warrant for Haarklou on Dec. 7. It alleges that the police have probable cause to arrest Haarklou on second degree burglary, a class 4 felony; trespass and theft, both misdemeanors. An Eagle County judge signed the warrant Dec. 7.
Wills told The Aspen Times Wednesday that Haarklou intended to turn himself in that afternoon. Haarklou wasn’t being held in Eagle County Jail as of 4:45 p.m. or Pitkin County Jail as of 5:30 p.m. Munch said he still hadn’t heard from Haarklou or his attorney as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Wills said Haarklou “denies the accusations” and would fight the charges. He questioned the evidence against the man, noting that Haarklou was identified by several people who remained anonymous or, in the case of the deputy, hadn’t seen him in a long time.
Wills said police failed to recover any clothing or other items that connect Haarklou to the crime or establish where he was at the time of the burglary of the bar. He said he felt there was insufficient evidence to exercise the arrest warrant.