Former worker at Cos Bar guilty of stealing $28,698
Aspen Times Staff Writer
A former assistant manager of the Cos Bar pleaded guilty to stealing almost $30,000 from the beauty boutique Monday in Pitkin County District Court.
Denise Aldrich, 33, pleaded guilty to felony theft in the embezzlement case as part of a plea bargain. The plea comes two months after Aldrich turned herself in to police to control the stealing she said was needed to pay for her cocaine habit.
“Did you steal from your employer?” Judge J.E. DeVilbiss asked Aldrich before accepting her plea.
“Yes,” she answered.
Aldrich’s public defender, Jim Conway, said the defendant hoped to make a dent in the “large amount of restitution” in the case before she is sentenced on July 1.
Aldrich was arrested in late March after she confessed to embezzling from the Cos Bar in order to support her drug habit. Court documents state that she told police she had spent all the money on cocaine, and she had none left to turn over as evidence.
According to the arrest warrant, the Cos Bar’s accountant noticed last October that the number of gift certificates redeemed at the boutique exceeded the number sold during the fiscal year. The warrant states that store owner Lily Garfield turned over daily cash-register tape that she said showed even amounts of money missing from the cash register without an accompanying gift certificate.
Garfield told police that “almost all” of the discrepancies between gift certificate redemptions and missing money occurred when Aldrich closed the store.
Store records showed that $28,698 went missing on days when Aldrich closed the store and various amounts in gift certificate redemptions were not accounted for.
In an interview with police, Aldrich said she had taken the money and that much of the past few months were “a fog” as her drug use increased. She also said there might be some cocaine in her backpack at the Cos Bar.
The warrant says police later found cocaine residue in Aldrich’s backpack and three small pieces of paper folded into “bindles,” commonly used to hold cocaine.
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