Couple likely to face theft charges in Aspen
Vail CO, Colorado
A young man and woman are suspected of a string of thefts and credit-card fraud from Oregon to Aspen before their arrest this week in Denver, Aspen Police said Friday.
Jeremy Wayne Nichols, 34, and Leslie Christine Castle, 24, are in custody in Denver and have been charged with aggravated vehicle theft, according to Detective Chris Womack.
A Denver judge set the couple’s bail at $50,000 Friday. If they do not post bond, the two likely will be charged in Aspen for theft, Womack said.
“It looks like they are a couple (on a) crime spree,” Womack said.
The pair fled Oregon under the threat of warrants, Womack said, and are suspected of leaving a trail of fraudulent credit-card purchases for gasoline and other goods as far as Fruita on Jan. 8.
Police suspect the two were involved in a handful of thefts from cars in Aspen and Basalt, and police said they have records for fraudulent credit-card purchases in high-end Aspen shops Jan. 16.
A suspicious hotel clerk in a hotel known for drug activity in Denver alerted police, who, when searching for drugs, found valuable goods and an Aspen ski pass, Womack said. Denver Police alerted Womack on Thursday and held the couple on suspicion of theft of a vehicle from Oregon.
Womack traveled to Denver on Friday to recover some of the reported stolen property, but Nichols and Castle “lawyered up and didn’t talk” when confronted with the allegations, Womack said.
“I was able to recover some things that were bought with a credit card at Prada,” Womack said, adding that items were also suspected of having been purchased fraudulently last weekend from Pismo Fine Art Gallery, Mark Richards Fine Outerwear, Wolf Camera and a jewelry store in Snowmass Village.
Womack said he also found empty liquor bottles he believes came from Of Grape and Grain, an Aspen liquor store.
“I believe I have probably 90 percent of what people reported stolen,” Womack said, including personal items such as iPods that were reported stolen from vehicles in Basalt and Aspen.
“I don’t think they’re going to be able to post a bond,” Womack said.
Womack praised the intuition of the Denver hotel clerk and the quick work of Denver Police.