Python purse thief pleads guilty

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

A former Basalt woman who stole three python skin purses and jewelry from her Aspen employer and silverware from her landlord pleaded guilty to two counts of theft earlier this week, according to court documents.

Brooke Haring, 33, accepted the plea deal Wednesday to one felony count of theft between $5,000 and $20,000 and one misdemeanor count of theft between $750 and $1,000.

However, if a district court judge accepts the plea deal, the felony count could be wiped from her record if Haring stays out of trouble for three years, the documents state. She faces between one and three years in prison for that charge, and between six months and 18 months in county jail for the misdemeanor charge.

Aspen police were first alerted to the theft in January, when a supervisor at Caribou Jewels, 431 E. Hopkins Ave., reported that a large python skin purse valued at $4,000 and two smaller python skin purses valued at $2,500 each were missing from the store. In addition, the supervisor said unspecified jewelry went missing during the previous summer, according to police reports and court documents.

The supervisor suspected Haring in the thefts and fired her in December. Then, on Jan. 26, the supervisor saw Haring in the checkout line at City Market in El Jebel with the larger purse slung over her shoulder, according to court documents. The supervisor took a picture, then confronted Haring, who said she took it because she thought the supervisor “screwed her,” according to a police report.

The supervisor forced Haring to dump out her personal belongings and took the purse at that time. The supervisor also went to an Aspen consignment shop and discovered that Haring had sold one of the smaller purses there Oct. 21, 2014 for $450, for which she received $250, court documents state.

Aspen police searched Haring’s residence in February and found six pieces of silverware Haring stole in January from her former landlord as well as an insert for one of the stolen python skin purses, a hand-written list of jewelry “to consign” and empty jewelry boxes with the same brand name as the stolen jewelry from Caribou Jewels, according to court documents.

As part of the plea agreement, Haring, who now lives in Ohio, agreed to pay full restitution, including $1,000 upfront, the documents state.

If a judge accepts the plea deal, Haring will be on supervised probation for three years, must remain employed, report to her probation officer once a month, not be arrested for any crime above a traffic infraction and not use alcohol or drugs, among other conditions.

Haring had a previous arrest for theft and a previous conviction for petty theft in 2012, according to court records. She is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 7.