Woman sentenced to 4 years in halfway house for Cos Bar theft | AspenTimes.com

Woman sentenced to 4 years in halfway house for Cos Bar theft

A woman who stole nearly $30,000 while serving as assistant manager of the Cos Bar beauty boutique was sentenced to four years in a halfway house Monday.

Denise Aldrich, 33, wept as Pitkin County District Court Judge J.E. DeVilbiss ordered her confined to a Greeley community corrections facility.

Aldrich will be kept in the Pitkin County Jail until Oct. 9, when halfway house supervisors will have a room available for her in Greeley.

The sentence comes after Aldrich admitted she had a drug addiction, one she says caused her to steal from an employer she often called “her mother.” Aldrich pleaded guilty to felony theft in May, two months after confessing to police that she had spent every penny of the stolen money ? $28,698 ? on cocaine, and she had none left to turn over as evidence.

Aldrich’s attorney said Monday that she would be able to turn over $3,000 to her victims at the Cos Bar as she began to pay court-ordered restitution.

According to Aldrich’s arrest warrant, the boutique’s accountant noticed last October that the number of gift certificates redeemed at the business exceeded the number sold during the previous fiscal year. Cos Bar owner Lily Garfield then examined daily cash-register tape that showed even amounts of money missing from the cash register without an accompanying gift certificate, according to investigators.

Garfield told police that “almost all” of the discrepancies between gift certificate redemptions and missing money occurred when Aldrich closed the store.

Garfield recently told the court that Aldrich had made nearly 100 unauthorized “withdrawals” from the Cos Bar cash register over the course of a year and a half.

Shortly after her arrest, Aldrich admitted to police that she had taken the money and that much of the past few months were “a fog” due to increased drug use. Police warrants state that officers later found cocaine residue in her backpack and three small pieces of paper folded into “bindles,” commonly used to hold cocaine.

Shortly before being led from the courtroom by bailiffs Monday afternoon, Aldrich apologized for the addiction that cost her her job and the trust of her co-workers.

“I’m deeply sorry for the crime I’ve committed and the way it affected Ms. Garfield,” she said tearfully, briefly glancing at her former employer. “Every day I wake up and think of the pain I caused.”

Aldrich said she recently graduated from a drug rehabilitation program and had attended regular meetings of Narcotics Anonymous while living in a temporary halfway house in Glenwood Springs. She also told the court that she had recently obtained a job at Wal-Mart as she attempted to pay back the nearly $26,000 she owes in restitution.

“I want the chance to make everything right again and to start living my life,” Aldrich said.

However, Deputy District Attorney Kate Sullivan said that Aldrich had recently lied on a job application to Basalt Middle School, stating that she had been “clean and sober” for nearly six months. Sullivan reported that Aldrich had tested positive for cocaine use as recently as a June court appearance.

Though Aldrich’s public defender, Jim Conway, mentioned probation as an option, DeVilbiss agreed with Sullivan and an assigned probation officer that her problem “would be best addressed in a community corrections environment.”

Conway said that Aldrich could pay up to $417 a month in restitution while living at the Greeley halfway house.

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com]

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