Robbery suspects held on $100,000 bond
A magistrate on Thursday set bond at $100,000 for each of the two young men arrested Wednesday night after a two-day manhunt stemming from an armed robbery in Carbondale.
Nicholas Ameral and Benjamin Weeks, both 19, were arrested in Basalt after a traffic stop at 10:19 p.m., according to Pitkin County Undersheriff Ron Ryan.
Both were arrested charges of felony aggravated robbery, which carries a potential prison sentence of 10 to 32 years and five years of mandatory parole, plus fines ranging from $3,000 to $750,000.
Police say the two led a manhunt on Tuesday and Wednesday after jumping out of a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus and fleeing into the countryside near Holland Hills. They were wanted in the gunpoint holdup of the Cowen Center Valero convenience store late the evening of Feb. 16.
Deputy District Attorney Zac Parsons, in seeking the $100,000 bond, argued that Weeks, Ameral’s cousin from California, has no ties to the community and has a prior juvenile record with extensive contacts with California law enforcement. His criminal history also includes a deferred judgment for a felony burglary charge, said Parsons.
And while Ameral has significantly greater ties to the community, he and his family having lived in the area since 2009, Parson said authorities are concerned that those contacts helped the pair evade authorities.
Ameral also had a second warrant for probation violation in which he failed to complete community service and pay an $80 community service fee.
Ameral told the court that he has worked for Citadel Security since first working at the X Games last year.
Magistrate Susan Ryan rejected Ameral’s requests for a lower bond or personal recognizance bond.
Ryan said she was setting bond at $100,000, which the prosecution requested, due to concern over risk to community safety and because both were flight risks.
Weeks sat in a wheelchair in court, and though Ameral was not in a wheelchair throughout, he was also taken out of the courtroom in a wheelchair. Both suffered exposure from the cold, but Weeks had more severe injuries. After their arrest, Weeks was taken to Valley View Hospital for treatment.
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