Bartender accused of theft

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A bartender was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of stealing more than $700 from a tent he was working at during a Musicfest concert.

Justin Michael Lange, 24, was arrested shortly after a fellow bartender said he seen Lange crumpling dollar bills and stuffing them into his backpack while Lange was bartending at one of the concert tents at the Gondola Square, police Capt. Joel Rae said.

Lange's supervisors had warned him earlier in the night about pouring double shots of alcohol without charging for them, according to police reports. Lange said he was charging for the alcohol, according to the reports.

Another bartender said he saw Lange making change for several $20 bills and pocketing some of the change by crumpling the bills and periodically stuffing them into his backpack, Rae said.

The bartender told Steam--boat Ski and Resort Corp. security officers what he saw and they watched Lange's behavior from about 9 to 10 p.m., Rae said.

Security officers called police saying they'd seen Lange putting money into his backpack, which police asked to search, Rae said.

Officers reported finding about $760, a small container of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, Rae said.

Lange was arrested on suspicion of Class 4 felony theft, possessing less than 1 ounce of marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors, Rae said.

During his advisement in Routt County Court on Friday afternoon, Lange told Routt County Judge James Garrecht that he did not know why he was arrested.

"This is a huge misunderstanding," Lange said.

"I did not steal anything at all. I didn't even get a chance to talk to anyone before they put me in handcuffs and took me away."

Lange told Garrecht the money officers found in his bag was from tips he made working all week. He asked Garrecht to move his case along quickly because he was scheduled to fly back to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 16. Lange said he was here for a month to work during his college break.

Garrecht set Lange's bond at $10,000, the standard bond for a Class 4 felony charge. Lange is scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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