Masked Michael makes day a thriller for Wal-Mart shoppers
Post Independent Staff
with wire reports
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” King of pop Michael Jackson had a minor brush with the law here Tuesday after he was spotted shopping at Wal-Mart while wearing a full-face ski mask.
According to Glenwood Springs police Lt. Bill Kimminau, an unidentified Wal-Mart employee called police at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday to report two shoppers wearing ski masks in the store. Kimminau said the caller was concerned by seeing people in ski masks, but didn’t know it was Jackson.
Minutes later, a person who turned out to be Jackson and the unidentified man he was with were seen getting into a black Range Rover in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Police spotted the vehicle driving south on Glen Avenue and proceeded to pull it over to question the occupants about why they were shopping with masks on. Jackson, who was sitting in the passenger seat, removed his mask.
That’s when police discovered one of the masked ones was the gloved one.
“We found out there was no criminal problem or anything else, and they headed to Aspen,” Kimminau told the Post Independent on Friday.
“Based on the homicide two years ago and with a guy wearing a mask, obviously we’re a little concerned,” he said.
The homicide to which Kimminau referred was the unsolved after-hours slaying of 56-year-old Glenwood Springs resident and Wal-Mart employee Tom Lubchenco, who was shot by a masked assailant at the store on the night of June 16, 2002.
The frustrated Kimminau said he had received “about 6,000” calls Friday from media outlets across the country, all seeking information on the Jackson incident.
“It wasn’t anything. He was here shopping and he had a mask,” Kimminau said. “And I’m sure if they knew who he was, he probably would have been inundated with autographs.
“This has made it pretty miserable here this morning.”
Jackson spokeswoman Raymone Bain said the incident was a trifle.
“The police car pulled to the side and just asked that he show his face, and he did, and that was it,” Bain said. “There was no altercation or any kind of encounter.”
Jackson is staying at a 56-acre ranch in Old Snowmass while vacationing with his children. He has been keeping a relatively low profile in the area, but has been spotted at several shops in nearby Aspen.
The pop star is currently facing child molestation charges in California and is fighting for the custody of his own children.
Jackson’s visit to Aspen was announced in a press release Bain issued Feb. 20 to address rumors the singer had checked himself into a drug rehabilitation facility in Colorado.
“Michael’s children indicated to him a few days ago that they’d like to see and play in the snow,” Bain said. “Mr. Jackson was enjoying his getaway until … someone deliberately and viciously began reaching out to media organizations with this claim.”
Bain also released a statement from Jackson that said: “I am appalled. Let me state for the record that I have not checked myself into any rehabilitation center in Aspen, Colorado; I am here for a few days with my children. I am outraged by these constant rumors.”
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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