SPOKANE, Wash. - Even before the scene was cleared and kids were returned to waiting parents in the wake of last week's Freeman High School shooting, thieves were racking up fraudulent charges on credit cards stolen from an anxious parent.
Court documents show the woman left her purse in the car along Highway 27 while going to check on her child. Sometime between 10 am and noon, her purse was taken. By 12:30, thieves had used the card at WalMart, spending $461.64. The card was used less than an hour later at Fred Meyer, spending $410.30. After that, they used the cards at a gas station in Lind, Washington.
Using surveillance videos and tips from the public, detectives identified three suspects this week. They arrested Nicole Jensen Monday and arrested Larry Flett and Renee Mann Tuesday night.
According to court documents, Jensen waived her rights and said she used the stolen cards at Walmart. She said Mann is a drug dealer and she thought the stolen cards were from a drug deal. She said she didn't know until later that the cards were stolen from the Freeman incident.
Court documents say Jensen was cooperative with detectives and returned "numerous items" purchased with the stolen bank cards. She also turned over the cocaine she had in her purse.
Flett also waived his rights and said he, Jensen and Mann were driving back from the casino Wednesday when they came across the scene at Freeman. He said they originally planned to steal a backpack from a motorcycle but said that Jensen came back with the purse instead.
As detectives searched a home on North Lincoln Tuesday night, they found the stolen purse and wallet "secreted in a cubby hole." Mann waived her rights and said the trio saw the police activity at Freeman High School last week. She said they stopped the car and that Flett and Jensen got out of the car and came back with a purse. She said it was Jensen's idea to go to the store and spend the money. According to court documents, Mann said "Jensen stated they should go to the store and buy things they could later return." Mann later said she bought items from her home, including diapers, baby wipes, toilet paper, detergent, fabric softener and hair dye.
A news release on the issue originally said the thieves racked up $36,000 dollars in charges. It appears that number included two personal checks stolen from the victim, which Mann said they ripped up and flushed down the toilet.
All three are now in the Spokane County Jail. The women are charged with theft, forgery and identity theft. Flett is charged with multiple counts of theft.
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