Friday, October 17, 2014

Challis woman pleads guilty to grand theft

Plea leads to dismissal of 13 forgery charges

Express Staff Writer

    A Challis woman charged with 14 theft-related felonies pleaded guilty to a single count of grand theft on Wednesday in Blaine County 5th District Court.
    In exchange for the guilty plea, 13 felony forgery charges will be dismissed against Sarajane Baxter Anderson, 42. Judge Robert Elgee scheduled sentencing for Jan. 5. Grand theft is punishable in Idaho by up to 14 years in prison.
    Anderson’s guilty plea came at a hearing that was originally scheduled as a pretrial conference, a prerequisite hearing to a jury trial that was earlier scheduled to begin Oct. 28.
    Anderson has remained free on $10,000 bail since shortly after her arrest in April. She is represented by Hailey attorney Cheri Hicks, who was appointed public defender.
    Anderson, who previously lived in Blaine County, was charged with grand theft for stealing checks from an acquaintance and allegedly going on a three-day check-writing spree, spending more than $1,900.
    A probable-cause affidavit filed in the case by Ketchum police Detective Kristen Quinton states that Anderson and the victim previously worked together at a Ketchum convenience store. When the victim moved to Washington state in 2013, she made arrangements for Anderson to pick up her mail and forward it to her.
    Instead, Quinton wrote in the affidavit, Anderson kept 25 blank checks on the victim’s bank account and forged the victim’s name on at least 13 of them for purchases of groceries and other goods in Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum.

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