Million dollar Miranda’s bond set at $1M
EAGLE — Just call Jesus Manuel Miranda the Million Dollar Man.
In Miranda’s first Eagle County court appearance, Judge Katharine Sullivan set his bond at $1 million.
Miranda, 31, of Dotsero, is in jail for an assortment of charges stemming from a bungled armed robbery last Friday. Among them is attempted murder for allegedly shooting Alan Gonzalez three times. Gonzalez is recovering.
Witnesses say Miranda and a 17-year-old female accomplice tried to rob a Gypsum clothing store, Tienda Montes. They got away with no money, and the girl was arrested shortly afterward. She’s being held in a Jefferson County youth facility.
It wasn’t Miranda’s only bungled robbery that day, authorities say.
About a half hour before he and the girl tried to rob Tienda Montes, Miranda also tried to rob Dinero Rapido, a check cashing business in Eagle, documents say.
“The suspect was identified and arrested because of the excellent cooperation between the witnesses and law enforcement officers from the Eagle County and Garfield County sheriffs’ offices,” said District Attorney Bruce Brown. “Their professionalism and swift action brought this dangerous suspect into custody before he could do more harm.”
Daniel Lee Happle is accused of driving Miranda’s getaway car, and was arrested after a high speed chase.
What police say happened
Miranda, a convicted felon and registered sex offender, tried to rob an Eagle check-cashing store, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. Reportedly, he couldn’t open the door where the money was stashed and fled. Here is the rest of authorities’ account of events:
Frustrated in that attempt, he headed west to Gypsum and Tienda Montes.
Around 12:20 p.m. Sept. 4, Miranda and the girl walked into the clothing store, and she closed the door behind them.
As he demanded money from Roxana Venzor, the store clerk, he hit her on the side of the head with a handgun he was brandishing, a Smith and Wesson 9 mm with the with the serial numbers filed off.
Miranda stole two cell phones from a female customer, Velia Arce, valued at $1,200, but got no money, and started to flee the store.
That’s when a male customer, Alan Uber Gonzalez, 23, saw the robbery and chased Miranda and the girl when they were outside the store.
Gonzalez stopped Miranda, and as they struggled over the handgun, Gonzales was shot three times — once in the center of his chest, once in the left hand and once in his left armpit area. A fourth round might have been shot into the ground, police said.
Gonzalez was rushed to the Vail Valley Medical Center in stable condition, and is recovering from his gunshot wounds.
During their fight, Miranda dropped the gun and fled with the girl.
Venzor and Arce identified Miranda and the girl when they were shown Facebook pictures.
Meth and Mexican Mafia
That’s about the time Daniel Lee Happle, 38, of Rifle, got involved.
Happle told police that “the ‘Mexican mafia’ had called him and told him to pick up Jesus Miranda and give him a ride.” He also told police that he ate a bag of methamphetamine as the cops were closing in.
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario told the Glenwood Post Independent that he couldn’t say whether Happle was operating under orders from organized crime.
“In my experience, guys we’ve arrested make all sorts of assertions,” Vallario said.
What we do know is that Happle’s license was revoked because he’s an habitual traffic offender. However, that didn’t stop him from picking up Miranda and heading west, in a reportedly stolen car.
Happle rolled through New Castle doing 50 mph in a 20 mph zone. When he turned west on Highway 6, he topped 100 mph. A Garfield County deputy tried to pull him over for an expired plate near Newcastle.
Near Coal Ridge High School, Happle reportedly slowed to around 10 mph and jumped out of the car to flee on foot, leaving Miranda in the passenger’s seat. Once a deputy managed to pull the car’s brake, Miranda identified himself as Roberto Neveraz, of whom there was no record, so police added criminal impersonal (a felony) to his long list of charges.
Meanwhile, Happle was found about a half hour later by the Glenwood Springs Police Department’s K9 unit, hiding in some bushes. Police told him to come out, and when he refused, police reportedly sent the dog in to fetch him, which it did.
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