Wednesday November 21, 2012

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A housekeeper expressed a great deal of remorse over allegations she stole thousands of dollars worth in jewelry from a woman she worked for, according to Winhall police.

On Monday, January M. Nelson, 30, of Chester, pleaded not guilty to one count of grand larceny and was released on conditions she not have contact with John or Ann Spencer of Winhall.

According to an affidavit by Winhall Police Sgt. Thomas Crowe, on Nov. 4 he went to Ann Spencer’s home to speak with her about missing jewelry. Spencer told Crowe where she keeps the jewelry and said the only people with access to it are her husband, John Spencer, and her housekeeper of five years, Nelson.

She told Crowe that Nelson was scheduled to work again the next day and she would call him when Nelson arrived.

Crowe wrote that the next day he was contacted by Spencer and went to the house where he encountered Nelson, who let out a loud sigh and became visibly upset. According to Crowe, Nelson said she was upset because she knew why he was there, to question her about the stolen jewelry.

He wrote that Nelson began to cry and took him to her truck where she said some of the jewelry was kept. She turned over a heavy gold bracelet with the Spencers’ names engraved on it. According to the Spencers, it was worth between $3,000 and $5,000. The bag with the bracelet also contained a set of earrings.

Crowe wrote that Nelson apologized several times to Ann Spencer and said she took the jewelry because she needed money for car payments and other bills, and had to leave her own apartment because of a domestic situation.

She said some of the jewelry she did not sell because she "thought they were personal."

Nelson told Crowe she sold some of the jewelry to Von Bargen’s Fine Jewelry in Springfield, while the rest was still at her house.

"I haven’t done anything like this before, and I didn’t mean to hurt Ms. Spencer," Nelson was quoted as saying to Crowe. According to the affidavit, Nelson appeared upset and crying through much of the process.

Crowe wrote that Nelson led him to where she lives in Chester and turned over assorted earrings, one piece being worth $2,500. Crowe wrote that he then spoke to Jason Thom, manager at Von Bargen’s, who said on Oct. 23 he bought some gold jewelry from Nelson for $576. He said the jewelry was then sold to a middle person at the first of the month where it was bound for a smelter. Thom told Crowe he would call the middle person and see if he could halt the process.

On Nov. 6 Thom contacted Crowe and said he had managed to save some jewelry from being melted down and it was at a Von Bargen’s location in Stratton.

According to Crowe, the value of the jewelry turned over by Nelson was more than $5,600 while the jewelry she sold and was recovered was valued at $9,800. Later on that day Nelson called him saying she had found a pair of earrings that had been missed and turned those over as well.