PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A woman and her friend are accused of stealing three guitars valued at more than $10,000, detectives said.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by KOIN 6 News, Denise Coggins, 58, and Michael Jemming, 47, were arrested Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and are charged with one count each of first-degree aggravated theft.
The investigation started June 30 when Kaitlyn Hill, who is blind, told Portland Police Coggins may have stolen several musical instruments while she and her husband were on vacation, prosecutors said.
Detective Nathan Tobey said Hill met Coggins online through Craigslist seeking help around the house.
Police said at least three guitars valued a total of more than $10,000 were missing and more items were unaccounted for, court documents state.
Tobey was assigned to the case and searched a database that tracks pawned items and saw several items matching the victim’s description were found and had been pawned by a person named “Michael Jemming,” court documents state.
Most of the items were pawned at store in Portland and Clackamas County, Tobey said.
The victim told Tobey Coggins had a friend known to them as “MJ,” police said. When shown a picture of Jemming, the victim stated that was the person she knew as “MJ,” court record state.
Other pawned transactions were discovered by Tobey.
In all 17, transactions were located in the database and almost all the transaction involved musical instruments, court documents state.
Hill told police the items pawned in the 17 transactions belonged to her and the value of the items totaled over $35,000, prosecutors said.
Earlier this week, police interviewed Coggins who said she has been dealing with a heroin addiction for many years, court documents state.
Coggins said she did some yard work and had done cleaning for the Hills and sold the items to get money for drugs, court documents reveal.
According to investigators, Coggins told police Jemming pushed her to steal more items from the family. She told the detective she left the family abruptly because the stealing had “gotten out of control,” court documents state.
Detectives reported Coggins and Jemming split the money received from the pawned transactions.
Coggins appeared in court Thursday and entered a not guilty plea. She is due in court next on July 25.
Jemming is expected to appear in court on Friday.
— Brent Weisberg