Woman allegedly stole over | AspenTimes.com

Woman allegedly stole over

Naomi Havlen

A local woman turned herself in to police on Wednesday for allegedly embezzling almost $30,000 from the Cosbar over the past year and a half.

Denise Aldrich, 33, told police she took money from the local cosmetics shop in order to support a drug habit, according to an arrest affidavit. She also told police she had spent all the money on cocaine, and none of the stolen money was left.

Aspen Police Detective Brian Heeney said Aldrich expressed remorse over her actions during an interview on March 15. According to the arrest warrant, the store’s accountant notified the manager last October that the number of gift certificates redeemed exceeded the number sold during the fiscal year.

The warrant says store owner Lily Garfield provided Heeney with daily cash-register tape that she said showed even amounts of money missing from the cash register without an accompanying gift certificate redeemed. Garfield said “almost all” of the large discrepancies between gift certificate redemptions and missing money occurred when Aldrich closed the store.

Garfield told police Aldrich was the assistant manager of the Cosbar and had worked there for about four years.

Store manager Valerie Bruington later told Heeney that the Cosbar instituted tighter controls on the gift certificate program, requiring that redeemed gift certificates be attached to the day’s receipts, the warrant says. But Bruington also said the discrepancies continued regardless of the change.

The store’s accountant, Kala Rachilla, also told Heeney that gift certificates are most often redeemed in January, after the holidays, and there had never been a year when gift certificate redemptions exceeded gift certificate sales, the warrant states.

The warrant lists several instances when Aldrich closed the store and various amounts in gift certificate redemptions were not accounted for, ultimately totaling $28,698.

According to the warrant, in an interview with police, Aldrich allegedly said she had taken the money, and that much of the last few months were “a fog” as her drug use increased. She also told Heeney there might be some cocaine in her backpack at the Cosbar.

The warrant says Heeney later found some white, powdery residue in Aldrich’s backpack, and three small pieces of paper folded into “bindles,” commonly used to hold cocaine. During two tests of the substances, Heeney said the substances found in the backpack tested positive for the presence of cocaine.

Aldrich is being charged with three counts of theft by series, a class-four felony, and one count of unlawful possession of a schedule-2 controlled substance. She turned herself in to police on Wednesday and was free after posting a $20,000 bond.

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