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Sunday, March 13, 2011

 

Hairdressers arrested for stealing gold and jewelry from clients while they attended church

Charges against hairdressers mount

Wayne Ford

Saturday, March 12, 2011

 

The number of charges against two Elberton hairdressers accused of stealing gold and jewelry from their clients has continued to rise in the month since their arrest - and the prosecutor says he expects it will keep growing.

Nikki M. Coker is accused of stealing gold and jewelry from her hairdressing clients.
Special

A judge denied bond Friday on the two dozen charges the women already face.

Nikki M. Coker, 35, faces 29 counts of burglary, and Whitney Hope Mooney, 26, faces 28 counts, plus two drug violations, Northern Circuit District Attorney Bob Lavender said.

More charges are on the way, according to Lavender and Investigator David Cleveland of the Elbert County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators are uncovering more victims, sometimes by tracing recovered jewelry with initials or children's names engraved on the pieces, Cleveland said.

Lavender is considering a special session of the Elbert County grand jury to hear the women's case.

"We'll probably have to call the grand jury back early because the grand jury just met not long ago and it wouldn't meet again for about six months," he said.

Theft victims range from salon customers to relatives and friends, according to the Elbert County Sheriff's Office.

Most of the burglaries happened on Sunday mornings when the victims were in church or on Mondays, a day most hairdressers in Elbert County take a day off.

Investigators found three pawn shops where the women sold the jewelry and coins in Athens, Crawford and Anderson, S.C.

Deputies recovered some of the jewelry after people saw news reports about the thefts, Cleveland said.

"A lot of people became aware of the fact they had been given some of this jewelry by the defendants or had purchased some of the jewelry from these two," he said. "They have done the right thing and come forward and brought it back to us."

"We've received a lot of cooperation from the public," he said.

Both women and their attorneys attended a bond hearing Friday in Elbert County Superior Court, where Judge John Bailey denied bond. In his ruling, the judge cited the number of charges against the women and the possibility they could flee if released, Lavender said.

 

LINK TO ORIGINAL STORY: 

http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/021711/new_786811159.shtml


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