Thursday, September 1, 2011

The 20 Most Notorious Snowboarding Criminals

Earlier in the month a drunken member of the US skiing team was dropped from the team after he pissed on a 12-year-old girl during an overnight flight - a story covered by the New York Post in an article titled “Urine Big Trouble!”. 18-year-old Robert Vietze was also hit with a federal indecent-exposure charge and could face a year in prison and a $1,000 fine if he is convicted. 
In strangely coincidental news just one week later the actor Gerard Depardieu also found himself in trouble after relieving himself on a plane in France. 
This got us thinking; what kind of legal trouble have snowboarders got themselves into over the years? This week we’ve lined-up a veritable rogue’s gallery of snowboarding miscreants who have run afoul of the law for a range of criminal misdeeds…

First up its snowboarding’s version of Point Break...
The Snowboard Bandits
Young, dumb and full of cum
During 2007 and 2008 three guys wearing snowboard gear (apparently they preferred to wear Burton) robbed at least 11 banks in and around Denver. The gang, who were named The Snowboard Bandits by the press, followed a predictable pattern which led to them eventually being outwitted by the police. Two of the men, Michael Jason Martinez and Edgar Adrian Perez, were tracked-down and caught with the money after their last robbery. One week later, while the two men were in custody, the third man again dressed in snowboard gear robbed another bank before he was also captured.
When not robbing banks the three men spent their time snowboarding in Vail, Sunlight, Aspen and Keystone. Videos of them snowboarding in the gear they used to rob the banks helped convict them. 
I used up all my Point Break quotes in the last caption 
The ringleader Michael Jason Martinez was sentenced to 10 years in jail and had to pay $18,795 in restitution.  Edgar Adrian Perez was sentenced to 47 months in prison and the third man Ikxander Figueroa-Maldonado was not charged. Both Martinez and Figueroa-Maldonado had previous after serving time in prison for similar offenses.
Michael Jason Martinez has an upside down head
There’s a long and very thorough article about the robberies here

The Snowboard Bandits were at least relatively prolific snowboard bank robbers before they were eventually caught. Other snowboarders have been less successful at this discipline...
Steven Simmons
Steve Simmons belts out another Elton John classic
In 2005 Simmons robbed a Mammoth Lakes bank at gunpoint for £4,807 just before end of business. Unfortunately for him it was shift change at the sheriff’s department round the corner and within minutes two shift loads of deputies were immediately in hot pursuit. They quickly tracked him to a field round the corner where he was found cowering in a doghouse.
Simmons was convicted of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm with the serial number changed, altered or obliterated. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the robbery and 4 additional years for the firearms offence.

But the award for crappest snowboard bank robbers goes to…
Luke Carroll & Anthony Prince - The Dumb & Dumber Bank Robbers
Carroll and Prince  - 2006 prison gurning champions
In 2005 two 19-year-old Aussie seasonaires stole $130,000 at gun point from a bank in Vail and escaped by snowboard. Unfortunately for them they left a veritable smorgasbord of evidence in the wake including; the bank teller knew them and identified them to the police within minutes, they tipped the taxi driver $20,000 in cash on their way to the airport, and they bought one-way plane tickets to Mexico in cash at the airport, where they were apprehended. Their calamitous crime spree led to them being dubbed the Dumb & Dumber Bank Robbers by the Australian press.
Anthony Prince spent four and a half years in prison and Luke Carroll served 5 years and they had to pay $21,658 in restitution. They have both served out their sentences and have since been deported back to Australia. We wrote a whole article about them last year after Prince released a book about the whole experience. 

And it’s not just snowboarding punters giving the crime lark a go. Here’s a look at some professional snowboarders…
Riley Giles - Lindsey Lohan’s ex
2007 - DUI
Riley Giles, the X-Games professional snowboarder who no one had ever heard of, briefly became famous when he hooked up with Lindsey Lohan after they met in rehab in Utah in 2007. Giles was there after being charged with possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery or subterfuge after faking prescriptions for anti-depressant drug Xanax.
2006 - possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery or subterfuge
It wasn’t his first scape with the law; he had 10 days behind bars previously after being arrested twice for driving under the influence.
August 2004 - DUI
January 2004 - DUI
Riley Giles is not one of life's winners.

His moment in the spotlight was brief though, just a few weeks after the news broke Lindsey Lohan tired of him and he has since disappeared back in to obscurity.

Talking about receding into obscurity do you remember…
Tara Zwink
No actual pictures of Tara Zwink remain on the Interweb so you'll have to make do with this imagineered representation of her story
Back in the days that all snowboard pros had to have a suitably awesome name Zwink was one of the best women on the circuit. She was second in the first Winter X Games half pipe back in 1997, but her career was cut short in 2003 when she tested positive for smoking weed and she was banned from competition for 2 years. Since then she’s effectively disappeared from the internet except for this story
Seems more than a bit harsh really considering that back in 1998 Ross Rebagliati tested positive for marijuana after winning gold at the Negano Olympics and he didn’t face a similar ban. 

Another snowboard pro got caught up in a crime story although this time it was his dad who caused all the kafuffle…
Clifford Finch - Andy Finch’s Dad
Clifford Finch Vietnam war vet and father of US Olympic snowboarder Andy Finch hit the news in 2007 after he got embroiled in a high speed chase and a shootout with the Fresno police. During the exchange of gunfire Clifford Finch was shot 7 times, including 3 times in the head. He was revived at the scene 5 times and spent most of the next two years in hospital before his court appearance. He could have been sentenced to up to 14 years but he was just given 5 years of probation and a $4,000 fine as his out-of-context actions were found to be the result of post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Here’s a video of his day in court and strangely he found it “upsetting” to be handled as a criminal after his quite bonkers mini crime spree. 
Andy Finch wrote about his experiences at the time on his site where there’s a video of him and his dad snowboarding after his dad had recovered. Andy Finch and all the commenters are apparently massive fans of God.

What’s that you say? You want bigger snowboard pros? Try this for size…
Shaun White
Shaun White's publicist is seriously off with the fairies
It’s the flaming tangerine himself. In 2007 he was arrested in Beaver Run (which is a name someone actually gave to a resort) in Breckenridge after he drunkenly set-off a fire extinguisher in a hotel while he brandished a pool cue at a young lady in what must be some sort of strange superstar snowboarder mating ritual.
He was identified when the police were able to match his shoes against the prints on the carpet and he was fined $182 for his troubles.
It didn't take the world's greatest gumshoe to solve this crime. Sorry
It is not known if he successfully got his end away as a result of his courting prowess. His arrest warrant is here.

Shaun White might be top of the snowboarding tree but with a paltry $182 fine he isn’t the top snowboard professional criminal; that dubious honour goes to this man…
Ryan Wedding
The signs were there. Wedding pictured surrounded by representations of the maijuana leaf
Ryan Wedding, who completed in the Salt Lake Olympics, was convicted of cocaine smuggling and jailed for 4 years with another 3 years of supervised release. He was caught in 2008 in Los Angeles after he sold a kilogram cocaine for $17,000 to undercover FBI agents in a sting operation. He was arrested in a hotel room where the FBI also found $100,000 of hidden cash.
Hard boots and skin tight suits. How did slalom not become the dominant form of snowboarding?
Back in 2006 Wedding, along with another Canadian pro snowboarder Edward Ian Hadgkiss, was implicated in a drug bust when police seized 6,800 marijuana plants and 40kg of dried marijuana. No charges were ever brought in that case. 

Giles, Zwink, Hadgkiss and Wedding sure loved their drugs. Along with bank robbery drug crime seems to be a particularly favourite profession for snowboarding criminals…
Keith DelaraBond
The unusually over capitalised DelaraBond was jailed for 2 years in July this year for growing 64 cannabis plants in Leamington Spa in the UK. The 34-year-old had tried to claim that he used the marijuana to treat a serious back injury, but his claim was laughed out of court when video was found of him snowboarding in the Canadian Rockies during a 14-week snowboarding course in 2009.
He had also served a 12-month sentence in 1999 for growing cannabis so he’s not a quick learner, or a good liar

Well, at least with weed you’re not likely to hurt anyone, magic mushrooms on the other hand are a whole lot more dangerous than you might suspect, at least they are if you’re also a bonifide pyscho…
Jason Steven Joseph Gage
Couldn't find a picture of this guy and there is, scientifically speaking, nothing that would not be horribly offensive to use instead to represent this case
Jason Gage a 19 year-old was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempted murder after he attacked, strangled and seriously beat a female cross-country skier in an unprovoked attack in 2001. Gage was believed to have been under the influence of magic mushrooms at the time although he didn’t admit to it in court. He was snowboarding with a friend Josh Larsen when pretty much out of the blue he attacked the woman. Both men fled the scene leaving the woman for dead, but fortunately she was found by a passer-by who rushed to hospital. Several days after the attack Josh Larsen, who was not charged with any crime, contacted the police several days later to turn Jason Gage in. 

That’s enough drug crime; let's bring things down another notch with some sexual assault…
Dustin Travis Harmon
In 2006 23-year-old Dustin Travis Harmon went missing after day of snowboarding at Breckenridge. A 40 man search was called off when he was spotted wondering around in a town 50 miles away. At the time Harmon was on probation for a criminal trespass charge and he had two active warrants out on him. He was arrested the horribly ironically named city of Loveland in 2005 for indecent exposure, attempted sexual assault on a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. 
After being released from prison Harmon now finds himself on the Boulder County Sheriff Office’s most wanted list because he hasn’t registered as a sex offender. 

And while we’re plumbing the depths here’s some accidental child abuse...
Michael Wolff
Michael Wolff was snowboarding in Sunlight Mountain resort in 2003 when he ploughed into a ski school class of 5 and 6 year old kids. He injured three kids and one of the children suffered a broken arm. The 20-year-old who was drunk at the time of the accident was charged with one felony count of negligent child abuse causing serious injury, a misdemeanour count of child abuse causing injury and three misdemeanour counts of reckless endangerment. He was sentenced to 240 days in jail, he had to pay $9,300 in restitution and write letter of apology to the children.
After being released from prison he violated his probation, went on the run, and when captured was sentenced to three years in a Community Corrections program. 

It is me or is it a bit harsh to end up in prison if you accidentally break someone’s arm? Here are a couple of guys who really seem to have copped a tough break…
The Avalanches
Back in 2003 in La Clusaz, France two snowboarders accidentally set-off an avalanche that killed a 13-year-old girl who was skiing off-piste at the time. Two days after the avalanche the snowboarders turned themselves in. The state prosecutor initially didn’t want to bring any charges against the snowboarders, but the girl’s father launched a civil action which prompted the prosecutor to bring the case to court. The two snowboarders were sentenced to 2 and 4 months in prison for manslaughter due to a lack of care, negligence or security. The ski guide who led the girl off-piste when the two snowboarders were already hiking up the mountain above was also prosecuted but the charges against him were rejected.  

If nothing else it’s one hell of a wake-up call for everyone else. Well, that’s covered most serious crime bases, what do we have left? Oh yeah, some racism…
Benjamin F Haskell
Benjamin Haskell was sentenced to 9 years in prison in 2010 after he admitted he was guilty of burning down a church in a racist attack. Haskell was unemployed at the time but had previously worked a snowboard instructor in New Hampshire. He was one of three men who burnt down the catchily titled Macedonia Church of God in Christ just hours after Barak Obama was elected President. One of the other men Thomas Gleeson also admitted to the crime and will face a similar length of time in prison. The third man Michel Jacques has been found guilty and will be sentenced in September.

And finally. Here’s probably the worst snowboarding criminal of what has turned out to be a very bad bunch, a snowboarder who’s found his way on to the FBI’s infamous 10 Most Wanted list…
Bisexual Murderer - Jason Derek Brown
Jason Brown is wanted by the FBI after he shot and killed an armoured truck security guard and stole $54,000 back in 2004 and he’s been on the run ever since. For his misdeeds he’s found himself with a $100,000 reward on his head and an entry on the 10 Most Wanted List, a list which also includes the recently expired Osama Bin Laden.
The FBI description is probably not what he’d chose to have on his résumé; “Brown speaks fluent French and has a Masters Degree in International Business. He is an avid golfer, snowboarder, skier, and dirt biker. Brown enjoys being the center of attention and has been known to frequent nightclubs where he enjoys showing off his high-priced vehicles, boats, and other toys. He has been described as possibly having bisexual tendencies.”
He was described by his firearms instructor as, “an obnoxious student”.
Likewise he’s probably not all that chuffed that America’s Most Wanted state that he “Shaves his entire body with the exception of the hair on his head”
What is clear is that as well as being a vicious git he is also quite clearly a massive douche
It’s thought he might be hiding out in Western Canada where he has previous spent time at Whistler. Keep an eye out for him, that $100,000 reward would finance a fair few seasons worth of snowboarding and it’s an easier way to get rich than robbing a bank.

Well that degenerated into a thoroughly rancid list of arseholes. Just be thankful we didn’t write an article about 20 snowboarders who have been caught pissing on aeroplanes. Stay out of trouble folks.

You might also like…
If these stories haven’t learned you and you still think crime pays, then our guide to the ski masks and balaclavas might well come in handy 
The full story of the Dumb & Dumber Bank Robbers 


  1. The bank Simmons robbed was actually in Nevada.He was found 45 minutes later hiding in a nearby residents doghouse.He was found with a sprained ankle from jumping fences during pursuit.The evidence connecting him to the crime was found later on in a field.It's a shame he only served 5 years.

  2. Why isn't Nike on this list???????


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