Crime Briefs: Armed men stick up Rifle liquor store |

Crime Briefs: Armed men stick up Rifle liquor store

Security footage from Jon’s Liquor in Rifle shows two men who robbed the store at gunpoint Thursday.
Provided |

Police are searching for two men who robbed a Rifle liquor store at gunpoint Thursday night.

The men entered Jon’s Liquor on west Second Street around 9:15 p.m. and held up the lone employee at gunpoint, according to the Rifle Police Department. The suspects, who were wearing hoodies, took an undisclosed amount of cash from the drawer and left in a light colored four-dour sedan driven by a third person.

Police described one suspect as a Hispanic male, possibly in his 20s, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing between 150 and 170 pounds, with a lip piercing. He was armed with a semi-automatic handgun.

The other man is described as a possible Hispanic in his 30s, between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, weighing between 175 and 200 pounds. The man walked with a limp and was armed with a revolver.

Police are following up on the processing of evidence and evaluating possible leads. Anyone who may have information pertaining to the robbery is instructed to call Rifle detective Sgt. Mike Tyler at 665-6515.

Domestic violence PRECEDES chase

On March 4, Rifle police responded to a domestic violence call at Gateway Lodge, where, reports said, a 29-year-old Silverthorne man had abused his girlfriend.

The girlfriend had two protection orders against the man, and she was staying at a safe house in Summit County only a couple weeks before the incident.

In their room at the hotel he began attacking her orally and then, according to an affidavit, he choked her until she saw stars and shoved her into a wall.

She told police he’d been drinking, and officers later found an empty bottle of Fireball in their room.

She tried to flee to the hotel office, but he came after her and tried to pull her back into the room, the affidavit said.

To protect her, a hotel manager locked himself in a closet with the woman and called police, according to the affidavit. By the time police were on their way, the suspect was driving away.

The girlfriend warned that he’d been in a police chase before and that he would likely run if police tried to stop him – which he did.

Officers spotted him driving east on Fifth Street and Railroad Avenue, right outside the hotel. He sped up and turned north on East Avenue. During the chase he sped; crossed over into the opposite lane, almost hitting a parked car; and ignored stop signs, according to police.

The man turned into a dead-end private drive and ditched his car, running from police through Rifle Creek. Police caught up with him near the 100 block of East 12th Street and order him to stop. He was soaking wet and smelled strongly of alcohol, according to an affidavit.

He was arrested on charges of vehicular eluding, a class 5 felony; along with third-degree assault, violation of a restraining order, reckless driving, driving under the influence and obstructing a peace officer, all misdemeanors. Domestic violence will be used for sentencing purposes.


A 34-year-old man identified in court records as a transient led Rifle police on an afternoon chase in a stolen truck March 2, authorities say.

The department responded to a report about a suspicious vehicle, a gray 2000 Toyota Tacoma with California plates, parked on the 1800 block of Railroad Avenue.

A resident had checked on the man and told police the man didn’t “seem right and wanted an officer to check on him.”

When police arrived, the vehicle was pulling away, but the officer ran the plate, which came back as a stolen vehicle. Investigators from California later said the truck had been stolen at gunpoint in early February. The officer tried to pull the driver over, but he quickly turned onto another street.

He drove into a dirt parking lot, and another officer tried to block his exit with his patrol car. The Rifle officer wrote in an affidavit that he drew his firearm and ordered the man to stop his vehicle, but the man drove around the officer.

He then lost control of the truck and crashed into a parked truck, then continued to drive away east on 11th street.

He got out of his vehicle and ran under the Ninth Street bridge, an arrest affidavit says. One officer chased the man on foot and saw the man duck into the bushes behind Mancinelli’s Pizza. Police quickly converged on the bushes, where the man had tripped.

In the process of detaining the man one officer used a Taser and one of the probes was “located within close proximity to his buttock.”

Police found the transient man has a “lengthy criminal history,” including burglary, theft and obstruction arrests, according to an affidavit.

He was arrested on charges of aggravated motor vehicle theft, a class 5 felony; vehicular eluding, a class 5 felony; and the misdemeanors failure to report an accident, resisting arrest, driving without a license and reckless driving.

Basalt man arrested for fake checks

A 49-year-old Basalt man has been arrested after depositing thousands of dollars in fraudulent checks into his Bank of Colorado checking account, according to police.

Over the course of about a week at the end of October, the man deposited several checks worth from $4,250 to $5,000 each. He consistently withdrew thousands from the account soon after most of those deposits, according to an affidavit.

Within days the checks starting coming back to the bank as “fictitious” or from frozen accounts – but not before the man was allowed to take out thousands in cash, according to police.

The bank believed the same check had been altered and redeposited multiple times.

The man went on depositing bad checks and drawing cash from them for a little more than a week before the bank’s fraud department alerted the local branches and recommended freezing his account.

In the end, his account was nearly $19,000 in the red, according to police.

He was arrested on charges of theft, a class 5 felony; and five counts of forgery, a class 5 felony.

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