The Glenwood Springs man charged with robbing an El Jebel bank twice in four months pleaded guilty last week to felony robbery in a plea agreement that saw him also take responsibility for two other bank heists.
5th Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said Thursday that his office reached a “global disposition” with Jeremy Harmon, 38, in which he admits guilt in four bank robberies.
The Roaring Fork Valley saw four banks robbed from March to June, beginning March 2 when Vectra Bank in El Jebel was hit. Though it’s not clear which four robberies Harmon is admitting to, Hurlbert said two of the crimes were the Vectra Bank robberies and the other two were in Garfield County. Hurlbert referred other questions to Deputy District Attorney Steve Mallory, who was out of town and unavailable for comment Thursday.
U.S. Bank in downtown Glenwood Springs was robbed April 27, and the Post Independent reported that a Denver man was arrested for that crime.
The Wells Fargo bank on Highway 133 in Carbondale was robbed May 5, though that crime involved a man tying up employees and a customer at gunpoint. The behavior in that robbery is different from how police say Harmon acted when he robbed the El Jebel Vectra Bank in March and again June 22.
During those crimes, Harmon was accused of using ski garb as a disguise and handing the teller — the same one — a note demanding money. No weapon was used, police said.
Hurlbert said one felony count was used for all four of Harmon’s robberies because that was the best way to get a sentence with a “significant number of years.”
It’s unclear what sentence will be handed down when Harmon’s goes before Judge R. Thomas Moorhead of Eagle County District Court on Jan. 23.
Harmon’s attorney, Jesse Wiens of Avon, said Moorhead doesn’t accept sentences that are stipulated in plea agreements and that “it will be an open sentence” before the judge. Wiens said Thursday that he will argue for probation.
“The plea agreement wraps up everything involved with this gentleman,” he said.
While there is a plea deal in the case, it did not involve any charges being dropped, Wiens said. An arrest warrant for Harmon for the June 22 crime says he was to be charged with robbery and theft of under $2,500, but prosecutors decided not pursue the latter count, he said.
Harmon was arrested the night of June 22, when Vectra Bank was robbed at 10:20 a.m. The bank is in the Eagle County portion of the midvalley.
Police say a well-disguised Harmon took off on foot after the robbery, tossing part of his disguise and other clothing into a water-filled ditch near the Movieland theater.
A witness told police that the suspect, wearing a white T-shirt and tan pants, ran across Highway 82 to the El Jebel Plaza shopping center and got into a white Ford truck with ladders on it.
The owners of El Jebel Plaza across Highway 82 from where the bank is located provided a still image to police of a man driving off in a white Ford truck. The footage was distributed to law enforcement agencies throughout the valley.
Less than an hour after the bank robbery, 911 dispatcher Brandon March, who was off duty at the time, spotted Harmon driving a truck that matched the one in the surveillance photo. His wife, Aspen Police officer Vanessa March, saw the vehicle near the airport and called for back up, Basalt Sgt. Stu Curry said at the time.
Harmon was contacted at Clark’s Market in Aspen and told he was a person of interest in the robbery. Curry then questioned him in Aspen, he said.
Harmon was released after he told Curry that he was “nowhere near Vectra Bank” at the time of the robbery, a police report says. But he also told Curry that about an hour before the crime, he had been in the parking lot of the Bella Mia restaurant in the El Jebel Plaza. He said he had been making calls on his cell phone, the report says.
Basalt police later that day obtained a warrant for Harmon’s arrest, and Curry called him at home informing him that he would be arrested. Harmon turned himself in.
Most of the cash from the June 22 robbery, which totaled between $1,000 and $2,500, was recovered from Harmon’s truck, police said.
Harmon admitted to having financial difficulties, and Garfield County court records show that he had reached an agreement with his landlord to end an eviction proceeding two days before the June robbery.
Harmon was to pay $470 by June 22, according to court records.
Mallory, the Eagle County deputy DA, said in July that Glenwood Springs police, carrying out a search warrant of Harmon’s home, found evidence connecting him to another bank robbery, though he declined to say if it was the March 2 crime at Vectra.
There were many similarities in the two crimes. Besides using roughly the same disguise, approaching the same teller and not displaying a weapon, both were on Friday mornings, in March at 10:40 and in June at 10:20.