By Beth Lawrence
A local woman has been jailed after she allegedly stole from acquaintances, pawned their property and impersonated one to finance several shopping trips and obtain cash last summer.
Cheryl Dion Cole, 38, of Whittier was arrested for six felony counts of identity theft, nine felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense, one felony count of financial card fraud and three misdemeanor counts each of possession of stolen goods and larceny.
Her alleged crimes led to charges from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee Indian Police Department and Sylva Police Department.
“In review of the Sheriff’s Office charges against Cole, victims indicated on the warrants are related to Cole or otherwise known to Cole,” Major Shannon Queen said.
Cole is accused of stealing a debit card belonging to Elizabeth Carlisle and using it at several ATMs. Between Aug. 7 and Aug. 19, she stole $760 through five different ATM transactions, according to court documents.
Cole also used Carlisle’s Lowe’s credit card to purchase $1,573 worth of items between Aug. 14 and Aug. 19.
“Over several reported dates, Cole visited the home of her mother and brother in the Whittier community of Jackson County,” Queen said. “During these visits Cole took items listed on the warrants and subsequently pawned those items. Cole also obtained her mother’s financial card and used the card at varied locations over different days to obtain money and goods. These reports began at the end of August, and instances of theft and card frauds continued into September.”
Cole is believed to have used the charge card to purchase an assortment of items including two leaf blowers, toilet tissue, laundry detergent pods, seven gift cards, a shop vac, impact driver, bolt cutters, insect foggers, assorted hardware and assorted snacks.
According to court documents, Cole also stole several items from others and pawned them for cash at several pawnshops across the county. Stolen items include a leaf blower and pressure washer valued at $500 stolen from Jeffrey Carlisle and pawned at Middleton Pawn in Sylva and Plaza Pawn North in Whittier, a self-propelled lawnmower valued at $400 stolen from Cheryl Howard and pawned at Plaza Pawn North, and an Xbox gaming console valued at $300 stolen from Warren Crowe III and pawned at Alan’s Jewelry and Pawn in Cherokee.
Cole pawned the items for over $230.
The stolen items have been recovered and returned to their owners, Queen said.
When pawnshops are duped into accepting stolen goods, the person pawning the item is charged with obtaining property by false pretense because they are defrauding the shop out of money if they knew the items were stolen.
“The pawnshop is the victim,” Queen said. “If the obtaining property charges are filed and the individual is convicted, then the judge can order restitution to the victim. There is also the possibility the pawnshop could take a civil action against the person who pawned the items as well.”
Cole was being held in Jackson County Detention Center under a $115,000 bond as of Wednesday morning.