Accused SUV stealer faces 22 charges, possible life in prison as habitual criminal |

Accused SUV stealer faces 22 charges, possible life in prison as habitual criminal

Evan Reichert’s alleged crimes range from aggravated motor vehicle theft to stealing a scooter

Evan Reichert, center in the orange jail clothes, faces 22 criminal counts and possible life in prison as an habitual criminal. Reichert is accused of stealing an SUV at knifepoint the day after Independence Day from a Vail hotel. His defense attorney is Jesse Wiens, left. Prosecutors Joe Kirwan and Johnny Lombardi are prosecuting the case.
Randy Wyrick |

EAGLE — As the judge read the 22 charges Evan Reichert faces, Reichert stood with his eyes downcast and stared at the top of the courtroom podium like there might be an answer carved into the wood surface.

There wasn’t.

Reichert, 33, is accused of stealing an SUV at knifepoint from a Vail hotel July 5, the day after Independence Day. Ironically, Reichert faces life in prison, the possible cumulative total for an habitual criminal – someone convicted of a multiple felonies.

Besides aggravated motor vehicle theft, Reichert’s other charges range from assaulting a police officer to property damage, stealing a scooter and a bicycle, and driving that allegedly stolen SUV on a drivers license that had been revoked because he is also a habitual traffic offender.

Reichert made his second appearance Tuesday afternoon before Eagle County Court Judge Rachel Fresquez, who read the charges against him. That exercise alone lasted almost 15 minutes.

When he was arrested he was also charged with attempted murder for allegedly threatening the valet with a knife. That charge is not among the counts on which Reichert’s case will go forward, his defense attorney Jesse Wiens said Tuesday afternoon.

26 days in the prison system

Reichert is accused of threatening a Vail Marriott valet with a knife and forcing that valet to move — still at knifepoint — to where Reichert could get the keys to a 2019 Chevrolet Suburban registered to a guest from Texas. Reichert allegedly drove away in that stolen Suburban and crashed it into the back of the neighboring Ritz Carlton hotel — a trip of a couple hundred yards.

Reichert’s 37-page criminal record started in 2005 in Florida with larceny, narcotics, burglary, probation violations and other crimes, prosecutors said.

He moved to Colorado in 2011, where he added to his criminal record with an August 2015 conviction for aggravated motor vehicle theft, according to the charges read during Tuesday’s hearing. He was sentenced to prison and asked to be placed in community corrections –— sort of a halfway house where prisoners can hold a job in the community and return to the facility when their workday is done.

Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi said Reichert was in community corrections for 26 days when he walked away – making him an escapee from the state prison system.

“He has been on a 14-year crime spree that has not stopped,” Lombardi said during Reichert’s first court appearance last week.

Reichert remains in the Eagle County jail on $150,000 bond.

What police say happened

The 911 call from the Marriott came into the Vail Public Safety Communications Center at 8:20 p.m. on Friday, July 5, Vail police said.

Officers were on the scene in moments.

Police say Reichert fled in the SUV, but he crashed it into a fence at the rear of Vail’s Ritz Carlton, the next hotel up the street. He abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot, running back into the Marriott.

Law enforcement officers from several agencies surrounded the building and immediately started a systematic search.

They found Reichert at 10:30 p.m. Friday near the rear of the Marriott at the bike path along Gore Creek.

He was transported to the Vail Health hospital, where he was examined, then taken to the Eagle County jail.

During Tuesday’s hearing Judge Fresquez ordered him back to court next week.

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