Glenwood bank robbery suspect tormented by gambling addiction
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A man suspected of robbing the Alpine Bank in West Glenwood Springs and taking the cash to Las Vegas has a history of gambling addiction and stealing to support it.
Police arrested Jeffrey David Smith, 27, Monday afternoon at a hotel in Las Vegas on suspicion of federal bank robbery charges and parole violation. Police Chief Terry Wilson has declined to share further details about what information led to the arrest or how much was stolen from the bank.
The Alpine Bank was robbed Dec. 15 around 4:30 p.m. Two bank employees were present but no one was hurt. Grainy security camera images show the suspect as a white man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and no mask. Police said the robber displayed a handgun and handed a teller a note before leaving with an undisclosed amount of money.
Court records show Smith stole almost $2,000 worth of golf clubs from the River Valley Ranch Golf Club pro shop in Carbondale in 2003. He worked there as an assistant manager and got fired for admitting to a supervisor that he stole the clubs and sold them on the website eBay, an arrest affidavit says.
Smith graduated in 2000 from Glenwood Springs High School, he said in a letter to a judge. He said about the golf club theft, “I assure you I have punished myself enough for my poor decision.”
In 2004, Smith stole his father’s boat and sold it on eBay for more than $15,000, court records show. His father wrote in a letter from federal prison that Smith did not have permission to take the boat.
Smith entered guilty pleas in both cases and received months in jail and terms of probation and later community corrections. He violated probation multiple times for things like failing to make restitution payments, failing to show up for a probation appointment, and moving without notifying probation.
In statements to police in arrest affidavits and in letters to judges, family and friends said Smith suffers from a severe gambling addiction. Smith said in a letter he wrote at age 25 that he’s had a “full-blown” gambling addiction for over seven years, but he’s also a good person who has never done drugs.
“I have a disgusting addiction and have often believed death is the only escape from its overpowering grip,” he wrote in the letter, adding later, “This addiction that has owned me is much bigger than dollars and cents. It is about this immature and inaccurate belief that I am better than life and those that live theirs appropriately.”
He said he felt he had “let down” his “extremely caring” probation officer by relapsing. He said he experienced no pleasure when relapsing into gambling addiction, even if he happened to be winning. Smith said in the letter that he did not want to become one of those older prisoners who curse parole and probation and just want to be left alone in a prison cell instead of trying to change.
His mother, who lives in southeastern Wisconsin, told a probation officer she closed down a checking account Smith had access to in November 2006 after he used it in Las Vegas, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. She said he had a history of gambling to excess and stealing to support it.
A request for comment from the family was unsuccessful. Court records say Smith once turned himself in during 2004 in Las Vegas, where he was accused in two more felony cases.
A January 2007 letter from acquaintances that Smith refers to as his godparents asked for other punishment instead of prison. It said, “Jeffrey is a very intelligent and gifted young man who, unfortunately, is dealing with a very serious gambling addiction.”
Smith was sentenced to a two-year prison term in February 2007. He became eligible for parole in June 2007.
In a February 2007 letter, Smith’s mother wrote a judge asking for consideration of rehabilitation instead of prison. She said he has lots to offer, is smart, and is “one of the best hearts of anyone I know.”
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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