Rifle man charged after following woman into parking garage
Aspen police charged a 56-year-old Rifle man with harassment earlier this month after he followed a woman upvalley and into a parking garage before allegedly making odd and vaguely threatening statements to her, according to a police report.
The man told police he followed the woman into the secure St. Regis Hotel parking garage because he wanted to tell her she had a taillight out, according to the report.
The incident began about 9:35 a.m. June 2, when the woman merged onto Highway 82 in Basalt on her way to work at the hotel, the report states. At that time, she passed a white Toyota sedan, which continued behind her for a distance without incident.
However, while driving through Snowmass Canyon, the sedan began following her closely, so she moved into the right lane and slowed down to allow the car to pass, according to the report. But the car merely slowed to her speed and continued behind her, the report said.
“She then sped up and tried to pull away from the white sedan, but it matched her speed and continued to follow her,” according to the report written by Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn. “At that point she began to be alarmed.”
Once she reached Aspen, the woman drove down Main Street to Garmisch Street, where she headed south. The white Toyota followed, the report states. She then turned on to Dean Street, and the white Toyota remained behind her.
The woman then pulled up to the controlled-access, underground parking garage at the St. Regis, where she used a remote control “clicker” to open the garage gate, according to the report. The white car was not behind her as she opened the gate, but it pulled in directly behind her before the gate could close, the report states.
Linn reviewed surveillance video and discovered the white Toyota entered the garage 30 seconds after the woman did, according to the report.
The Toyota then pulled behind the woman’s car after she parked, “effectively blocking her in,” the report states.
“I’m getting out of my car, and he stops in front of my car,” the woman told police, according to Linn’s report. “He’s all like, ‘Hey pretty lady.’”
The woman said the man opened his car door and she thought he was going to get out, but she was able to scoot past him. He then told her she had a taillight out, according to the report. The woman said she knew that.
The man then told her she was “a good little rider,” which the woman said she didn’t understand. He then used a child-like voice and said, “But you better watch out. They’re gonna get you,” the woman told police.
A delivery man then appeared, and the woman was able to get away and report the incident to hotel security.
When contacted by Linn, the man denied making the “pretty lady” statement, denied opening his car door and said he only wanted to tell her about the taillight, according to the report. He said he was coming to Aspen for a job interview, but was early so he had time to follow the woman and tell her about her car.
“That’s what you get for being a conscientious citizen,” he told police. “I never accosted her.”
A Glenwood Springs police officer cited the same man for harassment in October 2014 after a woman called 911 to report that he was following her, said Lt. Bill Kimminau. That woman told police the man almost hit her car on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon and that she honked at him and passed him, he said.
He then followed her through Glenwood Springs, nearly hit her car again on a back street and would stop when she stopped, Kimminau said. An emergency dispatcher told her to drive to the police department, and the man followed her all the way there, he said. A sergeant who spoke with her wrote in his report that the woman “appeared to be quite frightened,” Kimminau said.
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