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Police: Man used Base Village job to steal ski gear, bikes

By Chad Abraham

November 13, 2013

A Rifle man allegedly used his maintenance job in Base Village to steal thousands of dollars worth of sports equipment from Snowmass Village businesses that he then sold online.

Matthew Dale Long, 38, was arrested early Wednesday and later advised that he faces felony charges of theft between $5,000 and $20,000 and a count of using a computer for purposes of fraud.

Long's thefts went on for at least a few years, according to an arrest affidavit prepared by Aspen police detective Ian MacAyeal. Long admitted to committing the crimes, MacAyeal wrote.

Aspen police, not Snowmass Village authorities, handled the investigation because a ski shop owner reported the theft to an Aspen officer on Sunday, said Blair Weyer, Aspen Police Department spokeswoman.

The alleged victim told officer Adam Loudon that he had spotted eight ski jackets missing from the store's inventory on the auction website eBay. The owner "identified the tag as having his handwritten price on it," the affidavit says.

The owner explained that he receives inventory at his home, writes the prices on tags and then boxes the merchandise back up to be delivered to his stores in Aspen, Snowmass Village and Vail.

An eBay seller called matt_81647 was selling the jackets, the affidavit says.

In July, matt_81647 sold an Authier women's leather vest, and the ski shop found one missing from its inventory, MacAyeal wrote.

Using a website called leadsonline.com, which only law enforcement can utilize, police allegedly tracked matt_81647 to Long.

On Tuesday, a search warrant was issued for Long's Rifle residence, and Aspen police say they found a box for a GoPro video camera. Matt_81647 allegedly sold the same item on Oct. 30. There were also two new Giant bicycles in the garage, the affidavit says.

Long was not home but his wife spoke with officers, MacAyeal wrote.

"Long has been bringing items home from work in Snowmass over the last few years," MacAyeal wrote. "He presented [his wife] with two expensive Prada jackets about two years ago. He said the jackets were 'found in the incinerator.'"

Long apparently told his wife that the bikes were found in the woods.

He used his maintenance job with Snowmass Hospitality to gain access to the ski equipment and bikes, which were taken from separate businesses in Base Village, according to police.

Snowmass Hospitality, a property management company, is a subsidiary of Base Village developer Related Colorado.

"We are very disappointed by this unfortunate isolated event," said Dwayne Romero, president of Related Colorado, in a prepared statement. "We have proactively communicated with all of our Base Village tenants and are cooperating fully with the Aspen and Snowmass police departments. We have spoken with all of our operating companies today, and are reviewing the relevant practices and procedures to ensure the highest levels of physical security."

Related Colorado spokesman Steve Alldredge said Long has been placed on unpaid leave during the investigation.

During his advisement hearing, prosecutor Andrea Bryan told Judge Gail Nichols of Pitkin County District Court that Long was involved in a "pretty large-scale scheme" that targeted a small business. Bryan said that he also owns a large amount of weapons and that authorities are concerned that Long is suicidal.

She requested bond be set at $15,000.

Long said he had some initial panic when he was arrested but that he isn't suicidal.

"I need to get out [of jail] to do damage control and see if I still have a job, see if I can recover from this at all," he said. "I'm not a flight risk."

Long said that he had no money to pay for bond.

Nichols, noting that the evidence against Long is strong, set bond at $1,500 and ordered him to next appear in court Nov. 18.

Weyer said police are still investigating the total value of what Long allegedly stole.

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