The Vail Valley saw some not-bright criminal activity in 2018 |

The Vail Valley saw some not-bright criminal activity in 2018

This Colorado parole officer, strapping on a helmet and rushing to the scene, helped negotiate Santos Crespin's surrender after a seven-hour armed standoff.
Randy Wyrick |

EAGLE COUNTY — Chances are you’ve done something recently that does not qualify you for a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Then there are those who have gone through the county’s justice system in the past year:

The Amazing Crespin

Santos Crespin was on parole when he was busted again.

Crespin barricaded himself in a Dotsero mobile home for seven hours while keeping the SWAT team at bay.

Crespin’s conundrum started when a crying woman walked into a Gypsum convenience store and called the cops, accusing Crespin of unsavory behavior. The cops responded quickly.

Because they didn’t know if Crespin was armed, they broke out the department’s MRAP — a mine resistant ambush protected armored vehicle. The people who lived near Crespin rode the MRAP to a safe location.

As fate would have it, Crespin’s parole officers were in Glenwood Springs on business when they received the call about their client. One of his parole officers handled the negotiations with Crespin, convincing him to surrender after about a half hour — which was six and a half hours after he barricaded himself into the trailer.

Crespin was sentenced to six years in state prison.

Sno-Cat stealer

Jason Cuervo did not appear to be under the influence of the alcoholic beverage with which he shares a name, when he stole a big orange Sno-Cat and, with his small pickup truck, hauled it from Minturn to Grand Junction.

That was March 11.

Boulder police busted Cuervo at Boulder Toyota, where he had taken his small pickup truck to have the transmission fixed, which he broke pulling the Sno-Cat. Along with pure hearts and positive attitudes, the Boulder police were also packing six warrants for Cuervo’s arrest, including one for stealing John Brandenburg’s orange Sno-Cat, appropriately named “The General Lee.”

Brandenburg received thousands of social media messages from people who either saw Cuervo hauling the Sno-Cat from Minturn, which has snow, to Grand Junction, which is in the desert and didn’t at the time, or shared the information with the rest of the world.

One of The General Lee’s owners, a pilot, jumped in his plane to search from the air.

Brandenburg got the General Lee back from the Mesa County Sheriff’s impound lot a few days after it was stolen.

Wrong-way Ruben

Ruben Martinez was not allowed to possess a gun, but used a possibly-stolen gun to steal a Chevy Impala from an Uber driver in Aurora. He drove it from Aurora to the Vail Valley, some of it the wrong way along Interstate 70 through the Vail Valley … at 104 mph.

Five local law enforcement officers kept Martinez from causing any head-on collisions during the 17-minute chase, at 6:34 a.m. on Saint Patrick’s Day.

After he finally stopped, Martinez climbed out of the 2008 Chevy Impala shouting, “Just shoot me! Just shoot me!” Officers did not, although Martinez apparently shot at them. Police spotted a silver revolver that Martinez dropped on the highway. All the rounds had been fired and his stolen vehicle’s back window was shattered — as it someone had been shooting through it from the inside.

This is dope

A Vail couple, Shane Langley and Jane Cravens, say they did not try to swap Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell four pounds of black market pot for Mikesell’s personal SUV.

The Teller County cops say Langley and Cravens answered Mikesell’s online ad, sending Mikesell a text message suggesting that they trade Mikesell’s SUV for four pounds of pot, “high quality” and “organically grown.”

Apparently, Langley did not know he was talking to the Teller County sheriff. He even texted pictures of the marijuana to Mikesell.

Four-county burglary spree

Allison Hanas told the judge that even she doesn’t quite understand why she went on a four-county crime spree.

But she did.

District Court Judge Russell Granger gave Hanas five years in jail.

Besides burglary in Eagle County, Hanas committed five burglaries and 41 forgeries in Grand County, along with charges in Routt and Arapahoe counties.

Nigerian, but not a prince

You know many of those financial scams in your email are purportedly from someone in Nigeria?

Well, Eagle police arrested a Nigerian man for his part in an alleged financial scam that involved a Texas Walmart and a Vail Valley woman.

Babajide Ayowole Ogunnubi, from Nigeria, convinced a local woman to sign money orders and other financial transactions, and then give the money to him.

Linda Lazard Franks is accused of stealing more than $28,000 in nine days through 28 fraudulent transactions, some involving Eagle County residents.

Eagle Police Detective Bryce Hinton caught them.

Walmart security video shows Franks signing receipts for money orders and putting the money in her pocket, an Eagle police report said.

Counterfeit money, real crime

When police asked Jebez Parker about the counterfeit money they found drying on his motel room mirror, he insisted he didn’t know anything about it.

His memory recovered long enough for him to plead guilty to counterfeiting and other financial felonies.

He’ll spend 10 years in prison, as will his accomplice in the caper, Valerie DeMarco.

Parker has been doing this sort of thing in at least five other states — Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Kansas and Nebraska.

Parker and DeMarco started in the Colorado Springs area and worked their way to Eagle and Garfield counties, counterfeiting money and passing it at retailers, police say.

Not the bomb

In April, a man called in a fake bomb threat, claiming there was an explosive device in a West Vail condo. Vail police responded with remarkable speed. The investigation revealed the call was fake, and had been placed by someone who got possession of someone else’s phone. The phone’s owner didn’t know about it.

Then a few weeks ago, Russian trolls rolled through the Vail Valley and other areas around the U.S., claiming all sorts of explosives were in all sorts of places. None were.

The Russians demanded a huge pile of cryptocurrency. They didn’t get it.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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