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Orcas woman faces felony charges in jewelry store heist

An Orcas Island woman accused of peddling stolen goods at a pawn shop in Federal Way faces felony charges in connection with the holiday-time jewelry heist at an Eastsound jewelry store.

Roughly $12,500 in hand-crafted jewelry and merchandise vanished from Shinola Jewelry sometime in the early morning hours of Dec. 23. Someone threw a large rock through the front window of the North Beach Road store, then ransacked the shop and made off with a bounty of stolen merchandise, according to authorities.

On Jan. 9, prosecutors filed charges in San Juan County Superior Court accusing Cassia Mara Hernshenow of one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property, a Class B felony, which carries maximum penalties of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both. The 23-year-old, an Orcas Island resident for about a year-and-a-half, according to court documents, is slated to be arraigned in superior court Jan. 18. She was released under court orders and without bail pending arraignment.

The break-in and theft at Shinola is one of six burglaries and thefts under investigation by the Sheriff's Department that occurred in the Eastsound area over a six-week period.

Hernshenow was taken into custody Jan. 7 after being questioned by a detective at the sheriff's office in Eastsound. According to the arresting officer's affidavit, she was identified as the individual who, on Dec. 24, the day after the break-in, traded assorted pieces of jewelry valued at nearly $9,000 in exchange for $850 in cash at a pawn shop in Federal Way. Several of the pieces purchased by the pawn shop match those that were among the inventory missing from Shinola, according to the affidavit.

When questioned about the case, Hernshenow reportedly told the detective that she and a boyfriend acquired the jewelry from a stranger while traveling onboard a ferry bound for Anacortes that same day. According to the affidavit, the two agreed to trade a bag of marijuana they were carrying for the collection of jewelry offered up by the stranger in exchange.

— Scott Rasmussen

 

 

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