Southern Comfort and a $700 hat theft |

Southern Comfort and a $700 hat theft

summit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY – A man drinking liquor at a retail store in Keystone allegedly ran off with $860 worth of merchandise – only to get caught when he returned the following week.

After the incident Jan. 18, a store employee told the deputy she was the victim of a shoplift when a “really tall kid drinking Southern Comfort from a small bottle” allegedly stole a designer hat worth $700 and a helmet worth $160 from a store display, according to a Summit County Sheriff’s Office report.

Another employee chased the suspect, who damaged the helmet when he threw it to the ground to get away.

A witness who remained in the store said he had met the suspect that day on the mountain and knew him only as “big guy.”

Ten days later, the first store employee saw the suspect sitting at a table behind the store – with the witness.

The suspect was wearing the same outfit he’d been wearing the day of the theft.

A deputy arrived and asked the two men – as well as a third who was at the table – for their identification. They said they had no identification, and they denied any involvement in the theft, according to the report.

The theft suspect identified himself and said he was 22 years old. During a frisk, deputies found a pint of Southern Comfort in his pocket and a pint of Bailey’s Irish Liquor in the witness’s pocket.

A lift ticket that had been cut fell from the theft suspect’s coat during the search. The suspect told deputies he had paid for the pass with cash at the ticket office window and that he couldn’t remember whether he’d ever been in the store in question, according to the report.

A deputy tried to run the suspect’s name and birth date through the system, but no record was found. The suspect was found to be lying about his birth date and was only 20 years old. He consented to a portable breath test which showed a result of .034 breath alcohol concentration, according to the SCSO report.

The lift ticket that had dropped from the suspect’s jacket had actually been purchased by someone else, as discovered with the help of some Keystone Resort security personnel. The suspect admitted he had approached a random person in the parking lot and asked for the pass.

The third man sitting at the table told deputies that the suspect had given the $700 hat to a woman. The witness who on Jan. 18 said he knew the suspect only as “big guy” admitted that he had lied to conceal his good friend’s identity, according to the report.

The suspect finally told deputies: “Everything about stealing from the store is true,” according to the report.

The recipient of the hat was contacted, and she returned the merchandise to deputies for evidence to ultimately be returned to the store.

Though the two men who had been sitting at the table with the suspect also obtained lift tickets from people in the parking lot, they were both issued warnings. One of them received a summons for underage possession of alcohol.

The suspect was issued summonses on two counts of theft of less than $1,000 – one for a $92 lift ticket and one for the store merchandise, trespass for accessing Keystone Resorts facilities unlawfully, criminal mischief for damaging the store’s helmet and underage consumption/possession of alcohol for the Southern Comfort, according to the report.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or

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