Scheme to steal Aspen hotel booze yields felonies to three local teens
The Aspen Times
An apparently ongoing scheme by Aspen-area teenagers to break into a downtown hotel and steal alcohol came to an end this week with three local teens facing felony charges, according to court documents.
Lucas Velasquez, 18, of Carbondale, turned himself in Wednesday at the Pitkin County Jail and faces charges of second-degree burglary and causing criminal mischief of more than $5,000 — both felonies — and a misdemeanor count of theft of less than $300, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.
A 17-year-old boy arrested Jan. 4 faces charges of burglary, which is always a felony, as well as conspiracy and theft, the affidavit states. A third juvenile boy also has been arrested in connection with the case, though details and charges were not available Thursday, said Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn.
The incident first came to the attention of Aspen police about 9:30 a.m. Jan. 3, when staff at the Aspen Square Hotel reported finding a broken glass door and flipped over chairs and tables in the pool area. Hotel surveillance video from 3:30 a.m. the same morning showed four young men leave one of the rooms and damage the glass door on the hotel’s south entrance, according to the affidavit.
The men, who all had Stella beers in their hands in the video, were later identified by the occupants of the room they were seen leaving. The hotel’s general manger asked one of the occupants how the young men obtained the beer.
“(The woman) stated that it was well-known amongst many of the Aspen kids that they were somehow able to get alcohol from the Mountain Chalet, a hotel in Aspen located at 333 E. Durant Avenue,” the affidavit states.
Upon further investigation, police were able to identify one of the underage boys and interview him, along with his mother, Jan. 3. He told them that the 17-year-old later arrested showed him “based on previous burglaries at the Mountain Chalet that (the 17-year-old) committed, the best way (was) to force entry into the 5th floor banquet hall to steal alcohol,” according to the affidavit.
At that time — on the evening of Jan. 2 — the two underage teens stole six-packs of Stella beer and liquor, the boy said, the affidavit states. The boy interviewed by police also admitted to burglarizing the hotel later the same night — about 1 a.m. on Jan. 3 — with Velasquez.
One of the other teens seen leaving the Aspen Square room Jan. 3 later told police he saw Velasquez punch and break the hotel’s glass door. The boy also showed police a video from his phone allegedly showing Velasquez standing next to the broken door and saying, “Look what I just … did,” according to the affidavit.
The Mountain Chalet’s owner told police the hotel had been burglarized numerous times in the “recent past,” the affidavit states.
“(He) told us that beer and liquor were the items stolen during the burglaries,” according to the affidavit.
He showed police the beer cooler and liquor cabinet, which had been forcibly opened, while a surveillance camera in the banquet hall was “missing and believed stolen by the burglars,” the affidavit states.
He told police the Jan. 3 burglars stole “numerous six-packs of Stella beer,” as well as two bottles of whiskey and two bottles of tequila.
Velasquez posted a $2,500 bond and was released from the Pitkin County Jail, according to court records.