High Country Crime: Aspen hatchet man arrested at Intercept Lot again
For the second time in a year and a half, a local transient was arrested last Friday for brandishing a hatchet at fellow residents of the Intercept Lot, according to court documents and statements in court Monday, Feb. 12.
Justin Schaaf, 35, was charged with felony menacing after two other men who live in their vehicles at the park-and-ride lot at Brush Creek Road and Highway 82 called 911 to report that he was “waving a hatchet around,” according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.
Both men, however, showed up Monday at Schaaf’s advisement hearing in District Court and said Schaaf was a good friend of theirs and they didn’t want to press charges against him. One told Magistrate Judge Susan Ryan that Schaaf had been “under an extreme amount of stress” lately and that they’d never had problems before.
“I don’t think he meant to do what he did,” the man said.
“We all live at the Intercept Lot and try to coexist,” the other man said. “I don’t think he needs to be removed from the community.”
On Friday, the two men told Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies that Schaaf had called and wanted them to return a fuel can and a broom they’d borrowed, according to the affidavit. The men walked across the parking lot to return the items Friday night, but Schaaf began to yell at them when they got close, saying they shouldn’t take things that weren’t theirs, the affidavit states.
“(The two men) said Schaaf then began to wave a small hatchet at them in a threatening manner,” according to the affidavit.
Schaaf told deputies he’d been having trouble getting the men to return the items they borrowed, but said he’d gotten rid of the hatchet a long time ago, the affidavit states. He also smelled of alcohol, which violated a protection order that had previously been filed against him, according to the affidavit.
Schaaf also was arrested for brandishing a hatchet against three other men in October 2016 at the Intercept Lot. He later told The Aspen Times he picked up the hatchet in self-defense. The charges in that case were later dropped, according to court records.
—Jason Auslander, The Aspen Times
Steamboat man arrested after altercation with parking attendant
A Steamboat Springs man faces three misdemeanor charges after an altercation with a parking attendant at the Meadows parking lot.
At about noon Sunday, Feb. 11, Steamboat police responded to a report of an assault at the parking lot, where the Steamboat Ski Area offers free parking.
Police learned a parking attendant was helping 21-year-old Nicholas Marosvari park his white pickup.
The attendant asked Marosvari to move the vehicle after it was parked improperly, according to an arrest affidavit.
Marosvari reportedly responded by saying, “(explitive) that. I’m parking here,” according to the affidavit.
The attendant told the police that words were exchanged, and Marosvari “became enraged” and swung at him, which knocked the attendant’s sunglasses off his head, the affidavit states. Marosvari then grabbed the attendant’s radio, threw it on the ground and stomped on it.
Marosvari left the area. A boot was put on Marosvari’s truck, and police spoke to him when he returned.
Marosvari told police he was cussed at when he did not park in the proper spot. He admitted stomping on the radio but denied striking the attendant with his hand, the affidavit states.
Marosvari was taken to jail and booked on suspicion of harassment, criminal mischief and criminal attempt.
—Matt Stensland, Steamboat Today
Long arm of the law reaches deep into the heart of Texas to nab alleged scammer
A classified ad in the local newspaper helped police nab an alleged scammer working from Texas.
Eagle Police say Linda Lazard Franks, 56, was allegedly running scams from a Beaumont, Texas, Walmart money center, when the long arm of the law reached all the way to the Texas coast to grab her. Franks faces five felonies.
In all, Franks is accused of stealing more than $28,000 in nine days through 28 fraudulent transactions. Some victims are Eagle County residents, Eagle police say.
One of the victims said she answered a classified ad in the Vail Daily, asking for a part-time personal assistant to do some shopping and other errands. “Send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org,” the ad said.
Meanwhile, foreign hackers broke into the Google account of a Chino, California man, Todd Michael McNitt, and used McNitt’s stolen identity to buy the classified ad and run their scams through Franks, police allege.
The Eagle woman, a local college student, answered the classified ad by email on Oct. 26, 2017. Three days later she received an email response saying she got the job.
The woman heard from not-McNitt again on Nov. 2, 2017, after she had asked him if the job was a scam. The alleged scammers assured her it was not a scam, and produced McNitt’s California drivers license and some Linked In references.
Four days later, the alleged scammers asked the woman to buy a Target gift card, and to make sure they could access it, using McNitt’s reportedly forged identity.
Four days after that, the woman followed their instructions and opened a checking account in her and McNitt’s names, giving the scammers access to it.
The alleged scammers told the woman they had transferred $4,500 into her personal account.
Over the next few days, they told the woman to send thousands of dollars from her account to a foster home in Austin, Texas.
Three days later the woman discovered that her checking account was overdrawn by $3,124.56. She also discovered that the New York bank the scammers said they were using had refused to pay the $4,500.
That’s about the time she also received a message from craigslist saying the email she had answered and the code she used was a scam.
Eagle police asked the Vail Daily for information about the ad. With that information and by working with Walmart Global Investigations, they tracked the transactions to Franks, who was working in Walmart’s Beaumont, Texas, “money center.”
Between Nov. 20 and 29, 2017, when the Eagle County woman was being scammed, Franks had completed 28 transactions for $22,472.50, Walmart investigator Jay Johnston told the Eagle police.
—Randy Wyrick, Vail Daily
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