Carbondale shop owner charged with attempted theft
CARBONDALE, Colorado – A former Carbondale pawn shop owner faces felony attempted theft charges for allegedly filing false insurance claims related to two instances last year in which she reported to police that she had been robbed.
Teresa Garcia, 54, of Carbondale, was arrested Monday by Carbondale police following a several-months-long investigation in cooperation with the Ninth District Attorney’s Office. She was booked at the Garfield County Jail, but has since been released on $10,000 bail.
Garcia was the owner of the Regalos Y Deportes Jenny shop at 569 Main St. in Carbondale, a clothing, jewelry and accessories store that also operated as a pawn shop, according to a police arrest affidavit filed in Garfield District Court.
The store has since closed. But twice last year, Garcia reported to police that she was attacked and robbed by armed assailants, once in her car outside a local restaurant on May 12, 2011, and again at her store on Sept. 6, 2011.
In the second reported incident, police arrived to find Garcia in the bathroom of the shop with her feet and hands bound with duct tape, according to police reports.
In both cases, an undisclosed amount of jewelry, checks and cash belonging to the business were reported to have been stolen.
No arrests were ever made in connection with either of the reported robberies. Police were given a description of the suspects and prepared a composite sketch of one of the suspects that was sent to local news media at the time of the September incident.
However, authorities now believe the reported crimes may have been an alleged attempt by Garcia to commit insurance fraud, according to the affidavit filed by Carbondale police investigators with the court this week.
During a Carbondale police investigation of the May 12 incident, police said they began having serious doubts about the alleged crimes reported by Garcia.
Investigators also said they believed that in her insurance claims she was inflating the value of the items that were reported stolen, according to court documents.
“Ms. Garcia is presumed innocent of the charges until proven guilty,” noted a press release from the Carbondale Police Department about Garcia’s arrest.
Garcia has maintained throughout the investigation that the crimes did occur and the items were stolen.
After reporting the Sept. 6 incident, she filed a complaint with the town of Carbondale claiming that several break-ins and thefts at her business that she had reported dating back to 2007 were not properly investigated by police.
Garcia is due back in court in the attempted theft case on May 16 for a bond review hearing.
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