Bomb threat forces evacuation of Aspen club
The Aspen Times
Vail, CO Colorado
ASPEN, Colorado – A would-be concertgoer who allegedly called in a bomb threat to Belly Up Aspen Tuesday night was recently paroled from state prison, officials said Wednesday.
Asa J. Robinson, 29, of Glenwood Springs, allegedly made the threat after he was denied entry to a sold-out show at Belly Up Aspen, according to the Aspen Police Department. His call forced the evacuation of the nightclub and a search of the premises, police said.
The threat postponed a sold-out show at the nightclub. Zeds Dead was the headline act, with Ecto Cooler scheduled to open the show at 10 p.m., according to the club’s website. The opening band had not yet started playing when the incident occurred, a club employee said.
On Wednesday afternoon, 9th Judicial District Judge Gail Nichols advised Robinson of the charges, which include assault on a peace officer, physical force against a police officer, false reporting of an explosive, false reporting to authorities, resisting arrest, menacing and reckless endangerment.
During the advisement proceeding, Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin asked Nichols to set Robinson’s bail at $25,000. “We believe he is a very, very considerable flight risk,” Mordkin said.
She agreed to the amount, but noted that Robinson is currently ineligible for bond because he was placed on a state parole hold following Tuesday night’s arrest. Robinson was paroled from state prison on June 14 after serving five months for convictions in Eagle County involving possession of a controlled substance and felony menacing.
Robinson, shackled in foot chains and wearing the standard jail-issued orange jumpsuit, asked Nichols if he could be released on a personal recognizance bond. He said he is enrolled at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, where he studies photography, and that he has a lot of homework due next week.
“If you’ve got a parole hold, you’re not going anywhere,” Nichols said. She repeatedly reminded Robinson of the serious nature of the allegations against him.
Robinson disputed that he is a flight risk, saying he has lived in Colorado his entire life. He said he is a native of the Minturn/Vail area and that his brother attends college in Golden. His parents live outside of the area, he said.
He added that he is unemployed and attends classes at CMC-Glenwood Springs through financial aid.
But Mordkin said Robinson’s criminal history includes several charges of failure to appear in court. Though Robinson is being held in the county jail, “He’s technically in prison,” Mordkin said. “There’s no bail on a parole hold.”
Robinson would have to satisfy his parole conditions, completing his term, before he would be eligible to make bail on the new charges, Mordkin said. That scenario is unlikely, Mordkin said, adding that he spoke with Robinson’s parole officer Wednesday.
Robinson had no legal representation during the advisement. Nichols suggested that Robinson seek counsel from the public defender’s office, and set Dec. 5 as the date for his first official court appearance.
Police received a phone call about the alleged bomb at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. Officers were already on the scene, doing a routine walk-through at Belly Up. Patrons and employees were evacuated, and concertgoers were sheltered in buses while police searched the building, police said. The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s Aspen bus station is located across Galena Street from Belly Up.
No suspicious packages or devices were discovered, so the club’s management decided to let patrons back in and allow the show to resume, police said.
Within minutes, the bomb threat was traced and Robinson was identified as a suspect. He had earlier been denied entry to Belly Up because he did not have a ticket, according to police.
Police contacted him later, following the evacuation, when he again attempted to gain entry to the nightclub. Robinson allegedly became combative, striking one officer in the head. With assistance from Belly Up security personnel, he was restrained and placed under arrest.
Belly Up’s business manager, Alex Karlinski, said both bands performed following the evacuation and search, a process that may have taken between 30 minutes and an hour. She said customers weren’t happy about the situation, but to her knowledge, no one asked for a refund.