High Country Crime: Thieves steal painkillers in Vail pharmacy smash-and-grab
April 29, 2018
A Vail business owner said the store will be fine after thieves smashed in the front door and stole controlled substances.
Just after midnight Friday, April 20, thieves used a volleyball-sized rock to smash the front window of Vail Valley Pharmacy in Edwards. The thieves stole an undisclosed number of OxyContin and oxycodone pills.
The thieves stole nothing else, not even money, said Kent Lambrecht, who owns the local Edwards business with his wife, Courtney.
Eagle County Sheriff's deputies were on the scene less than two minutes after the alarm sounded, but the thieves — who appeared to know exactly what they were after — were already gone.
Kent and Courtney said they're a little edgy after the smash-and-grab, but said they and their 22 employees will be fine.
"We're optimistic, and we're fine, but this is personal. We're feeling a little bit on edge, but people have been so good to us. The core valley loves and helps each other, and that's why small business works here," Kent said.
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Sheriff's detectives are investigating the theft, said Jessie Mosher, the sheriff's office public information officer.
Kent said he and Courtney worked 28 straight hours dealing with all this. They've spent thousands on the damage the thieves left in their wake.
The thieves used a crowbar and took apart the office, but when they saw there were no drugs in there, they stole nothing, Kent said.
The Lambrechts spent thousands more upgrading their security systems and safes.
The Lambrechts employ 22 people and do not lay anyone off during the shoulder seasons. The smash-and-grab happened right at the beginning of the spring shoulder season.
"As a small business owner, this could not have come at a worse time," Kent said.
"The upside was no one was hurt. It could have been worse. They could have come in during the daytime."
-Randy Wyrick, the Vail Daily
Aspen driver's tall tales lead to felony
A Basalt man who was stopped Friday driving a car with license plates that belonged to other vehicles was arrested after deputies found prescription drugs, including morphine that belonged to a dead woman, according to court records.
Pitkin County deputies couldn't even be sure of the driver's name at first because he provided a fake name and fake date of birth, according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.
Eventually, however, the driver was identified as Pablo Mendoza-Calderon, 36, of Basalt and he was arrested on a raft of charges and booked into the Pitkin County Jail, the affidavit states.
A Pitkin County sheriff's deputy initially pulled Mendoza-Calderon over on Highway 82 in Basalt after he turned right from Basalt Avenue without stopping at a stop sign. He claimed he had no identification on him, as well as no insurance, then wrote down the fake name and birthdate, according to the affidavit.
The plates on the Subaru he was driving had expired two years ago and belonged to a car owned by a woman Mendoza-Calderon said he didn't know, the affidavit states. The expiration stickers on the plates, however, indicated they didn't expire until December 2019, though they were supposed to be on a trailer owned by another man Mendoza-Calderon said he didn't know.
At that point, the deputy noticed several bottles of prescription medication in the hatchback area of the car in the name of a dead woman, according to the affidavit. Mendoza-Calderon claimed he didn't know the woman, then changed his story when a Basalt police officer on scene spoke up and said he knew Mendoza-Calderon was the woman's caretaker before she died, the affidavit states.
Mendoza-Calderon then said he'd taken the medication to dispose of it after the woman died and knew he shouldn't have it.
As he was being driven to jail, Mendoza-Calderon claimed to have close relationships with Pitkin County's former sheriff and the current president of Mountain Rescue Aspen, and told the deputy driving that he also helped illegal immigrants cross the border, according to the affidavit.
Mendoza-Calderon was charged with felony drug possession, misdemeanor drug possession, driving without insurance, driving without a license, driving with expired license plates, driving with fake tabs and an unspecified warrant.
Deputies impounded the Subaru because they couldn't figure out who owned it, the affidavit states.
-Jason Auslander, The Aspen Times
Arrest made in downtown Steamboat business burglary
Steamboat Springs Police Department on Sunday arrested the man they believe burglarized a downtown business.
Ryan J. Sabia, 18, is also suspected of forging a prescription for pain medication.
Sabia faces felony charges of second-degree burglary, theft, possession of a controlled substance and fraud. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of second-degree forgery.
Police had been investigating a burglary at Sand Gallery at the corner of 11th Street and Lincoln Avenue, which was discovered April 15. The gallery sells high-end glass art, including jewelry and smoking devices.
The owner of the gallery, Mason Light, had been doing his own investigation into the burglary using social media hoping to discover the stolen glass pieces for sale.
Light also learned from a friend that Sabia had been asking about the burglary while incarcerated at the Routt County Jail, according to an arrest affidavit.
Light researched Sabia on Facebook and discovered evidence "directly linking him in possession of three stolen items" from the gallery, according to the affidavit.
On Sunday, an employee at the Nordic Lodge told police that Sabia had been staying at the lodge and offered to sell her high-end glass artwork, according to the affidavit. The value of the three pieces of glass, which are pendants, is $6,200.
When Sabia arrived at the lodge, police took him into custody.
A day after the burglary on April 16, Sabia was arrested on suspicion of the crimes related to forging a prescription.
Police had been contacted by an oral surgeon who treated Sabia. A pharmacy manager also contacted police.
Sabia had been prescribed five Narco pain killer tablets after a surgery April 3.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Sabia changed the prescription and was given 50 tablets.
Police Commander Annette Dopplick said the police department remains committed to working with its partners to offer programs for people suffering from addictions.
"We won't be able to arrest our way out of the problems that come with addictions," Dopplick said.
-Matt Stensland, Steamboat Today
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