Feb 3, 2016

Selling tens of thouands of dollars of stolen silverware results in jail sentence

Selling $23,000 worth of silverware for $250 recently landed a local man in jail for more than half-a-year.

Jesse L. Gonzalez’s crime wasn’t getting a bad price for the Tiffany and Co.-crafted utensils, but rather that he was selling stolen property.

Gonzalez, 29, recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of receiving, concealing or disposing of stolen property for selling the silverware and a stolen leaf blower to a Cody pawn store in 2010.

At a Jan. 8 hearing in Park County District Court, he was credited for the roughly six and a half months he spent in jail over the past year and ordered to pay $545 in court fines and fees and another $959.46 in restitution. That includes having to pay back the $250 that Palmer’s Outpost’s owner paid for the silverware and the $40 she paid for the STIHL blower.

Those items were found to be missing from the Two Dot Ranch — located north of Cody — in late August 2010.

A ranch representative told the Park County Sheriff’s Office that the Tiffany silverware had been out in November 2009, when the Two Dot’s owners were in town.

However, when the silverware was taken out for cleaning in August 2010, numerous pieces were found to be missing, Sheriff’s Sgt. Chad McKinney wrote in an affidavit included in court records. The missing pieces were valued at just under $22,930, McKinney was told.

In addition, a leaf blower had also gone missing a couple weeks earlier.

Gonzalez was named as a possible suspect as he’d performed work on the Two Dot Ranch with a lawn company, McKinney wrote.

Cody police combed through pawn slips to find the missing Tiffany and Co. silverware and ultimately learned Gonzalez had sold it and a leaf blower to Palmer’s Outpost, the affidavit says.

The pawn store’s owner had actually kept the silverware for herself and was able to turn it over to law enforcement, McKinney wrote.

“We found that everything was accounted for along with some pieces that had not been reported as stolen,” the deputy wrote.

Gonzalez initially told McKinney his grandmother had left him the silverware after her death, but later changed his story and claimed he’d gotten the pieces from two different people in exchange for marijuana and prescription drugs, the affidavit says. The leaf blower, he claimed, came from a yard sale.

Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Sam Krone said the four-year gap between Gonzalez’s September 2010 interview with McKinney and the filing of the criminal case in October 2014 stemmed from law enforcement not knowing where Gonzalez was.

Gonzalez was initially charged with a felony count of receiving, concealing or disposing of stolen property (alleging the stolen items were valued at $1,000 or more), but prosecutors lowered it to a misdemeanor (technically alleging the stolen items’ value was less than $1,000) as part of a plea deal.

Gonzalez was the only person charged in connection with the Two Dot Ranch’s stolen items.

The sprawling ranch is owned by Houston billionaire Fayez Sarofim, according to past reporting by the Wall Street Journal and public records.

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