Woman accused in Toys for Tots theft faces new charges
By Jack Stephens
Published in News on December 21, 2004 2:01 PM
A woman -- accused of stealing items from a Toys for Tots collection box in Goldsboro -- now faces two felony fraud charges.
Kimberly Dawn Crawford Riveros, 33, of Dunn was arrested Monday by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and charged with two counts of obtaining property by false pretense.
Ms. Riveros was accused of fraudulently obtaining permission from businesses to charge items at the Lowe's Home Improvement store. She allegedly took bogus letters to the store and obtained a utility trailer and a lawn tractor with them, officers said.
Detective Sgt. R. Dean Roscoe said the case was solved when a caller said the woman was the same one who had been arrested for stealing toys at Wal-Mart.
Ms. Riveros was taken before a magistrate who set her secured bond at $5,000. The bond was posted, and Ms. Riveros was released from custody. Her first appearance in Wayne County District Court was scheduled for today to determine her legal representative.
Similar charges from other counties are pending, Roscoe said.
Ms. Riveros had been charged with misdemeanor larceny of $702 worth of property from the Toys for Tots box. An anonymous caller saw a video of a woman on television and identified her. Goldsboro police then arrested Ms. Riveros. The property was recovered at the defendant's home.
Police said the surveillance video from Wal-Mart was enhanced as a result of their new computer system.
The system, called the avid detective system, was bought about four months ago with grant money. The system enabled police to transfer video evidence in a digital format or on a cassette to a hard drive, then enlarge it and send it out digitally to news organizations.
Ms. Riveros, who says she operates a charity from her home called Have-a-Heart, has denied stealing the toys Nov. 23. However, when she could not provide identification to a Wal-Mart employee, the employee then checked with a supervisor. Before the employee returned, Ms. Riveros allegedly scooped up the toys and fled in a car.
When she was arrested, Ms. Riveros said that she was a charity worker authorized by a Toys for Tots representative to collect the toys and then turn them over in Newton Grove. She said that when no one showed up, she took them home.
Connie Lashmet, a regional Toys for Tots representative, has discounted Ms. Riveros' story and said she did not authorize her to take the toys.
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