Couple charged with felonies in connection with Bainbridge home burglary

A 29-year-old Bremerton man and his 30-year-old girlfriend are facing felony charges after police allege they sold a gold bar and gold jewelry that were taken from a Bainbridge Island home where the woman worked as a house cleaner.

Krista Lynn Free was charged with one count of residential burglary on May 8 in Kitsap County District Court. Her boyfriend, Aaron Brian Childers, has been charged with first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

The couple were arrested Wednesday after a Bainbridge detective working on the recent string of burglaries on the island began investigating people with histories of theft and burglaries in the area.

In late April, police began monitoring the jailhouse phone calls of Tylan Cuzick, a 31-year-old Shelton man who was earlier charged with second-degree possession of stolen property after police alleged he used a credit card that was taken from inside a car that had been stolen on Bainbridge Island.

Authorities said Cuzick spoke with Childers from a phone at the county jail on April 24, and Childers said he had been helping Free at her job cleaning houses.

Later that week, Childers visited Cuzick at the jail and Childers allegedly said that he had sold some gold at a coin shop on Silverdale Way in Silverdale.

A Bainbridge officer went to Christman's Coins and Jewelry a few days later and found that Childers had sold a 10-gram gold bar and a gold, sun-shaped pendant on April 25.

Earlier this week, police contacted the cleaning company where Free worked to find out where she was working on April 24. The owner of the company said it was against company policy for her employees to bring others to their work locations, and was distraught over what had happened.

Police then showed photographs of the gold items that were sold in Silverdale to the couple that owned the Bainbridge Island home, and they said the items had been stolen. The gold bar had been a gift from the man's uncle, and the woman said the sun charm had been a gift from her grandmother, and they both said the items had great sentimental value.

On Wednesday, Bainbridge police recovered the jewelry from the Silverdale store — a manager told police the couple had since been back in, but he told them he wouldn't buy a herringbone-style gold necklace and bracelets because he thought they were stolen — and police began surveillance on the Bremerton/Silverdale-area home where Free lived with Childers.

The couple was stopped after they left their home in Childers' sedan, and police arrested Childers and booked him into jail.

Free denied any knowledge of the thefts, according to a statement of probable cause, but she was later arrested as an accomplice to residential burglary.

Authorities also noted Childers and Free's history of legal troubles in the statement of probable cause, and said Childers "has 126 involvements in the local criminal database" and had been arrested for burglary, mail theft, driving while impaired, car theft and third-degree theft. Free had 48 involvements in the criminal database.

Childers was charged with first-degree trafficking in stolen property, and Free was charged with residential burglary.

Both Free and Childers remain in custody in the Kitsap County Jail. Bail has been set at $50,000 for Free. Bail for Childers has been set at $150,000.

First-degree trafficking in stolen property carries a maximum 10-year  prison sentence and $20,000 fine upon conviction.

Residential burglary can also result in a maximum 10-year prison sentence and $20,000 fine upon conviction.

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