News

Consignment seller pleads guilty to theft charge

By JUSTINE FREDERIKSEN

Port Orchard Independent

South Kitsap woman accused of stealing consignment merchandise from customers in Kitsap County and Bainbridge, will be sentenced March 9.

A Port Orchard woman accused of stealing items she was supposed to be selling for clients pleaded guilty in Kitsap County Superior Court Friday.

Deputy Prosecutor Jay Wilkinson said that Alice S. Simpson, 53, will be sentenced in March after pleading guilty to one count of theft in the first degree.

Wilkinson said Simpson, with no prior criminal history, faces a sentencing range of up to 90 days in jail, and he will recommend 25 days.

“Also, as part of this resolution (Simpson) has agreed to pay $18,000 in restitution to eight victims,” he said, explaining that he will notify the eight victims of the proceedings.

Wilkinson said he had no objections to Simpson being screened for jail alternatives, and that her sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on March 9 in Kitsap County Superior Court.

Simpson is the former owner of the closed consignment shop Great Estates, and the lone charge of theft stemmed from allegations by Port Orchard resident Chuck McGuire, who told the Port Orchard Police Department that the defendant scammed him out of a $17,000 photograph.

McGuire said he gave his Edward Curtis “Gold Tone” photograph to Simpson to sell in the fall of 2007. At the time, Simpson was operating a consignment business on Bay Street — called both Great Estates and Cornucopia Ailisia — which has since closed.

After he repeatedly asked for his photograph back last spring, McGuire says Simpson admitted to him that she sold the photograph for $9,000 but no longer had the money.

McGuire then filed a report with the POPD, and Det. E.J. Martin began investigating his claims. According to Martin’s probable cause statement, a background check of both Simpson and Great Estates revealed “a number of cases” filed against her, including one that was investigated by the Bainbridge Island Police Department in 2001 and included nine victims that accused Simpson of similar actions.

Since then, more victims have come forward, including another Port Orchard man who filed a statement in October claiming that he gave Simpson more than $600 worth of items to sell. He claims he never received payment for them, and soon saw his items for sale at a nearby business downtown.

Martin said his office has received “a number of complaints” from people claiming that their antiques or other valuable collectables were taken to Simpson, but she failed to either compensate the owner or return the items.

Martin said Simpson closed her business last July, but that she announced her plan to conduct sales online from home.

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