Two former employees at The Medicine Man in Cortez received summonses Thursday in an investigation of felony embezzlement at the marijuana dispensary.
Cortez police contacted Timber Higgins and Sheila Castor after Medicine Man’s owners, Gilbert and Sherry Garcia, reported that they believed the two had been using military discounts to steal from the store.
Police Lt. Andy Brock said the suspects will be charged with stealing a total of about $12,400. Higgins and Castor refused to talk to police officers until they received legal counsel, Brock said.
Sherry Garcia said Castor and Higgins had both worked at Medicine Man for about a year. Castor was hired in October 2015, and Higgins in March 2016. Garcia said that she and other employees noticed an increase of purchases rung up as 15 percent military discounts. When they looked more closely at the records, they began to suspect that the two were ringing up regular purchases at discount prices and pocketing the difference.
The Garcias called the police on Jan. 27, after they questioned and fired both employees. Boyd Neagle, the police department’s narcotics officer, took over the investigation and issued the summonses on Feb. 8. Brock said that by then, it had been too long since the alleged crime was committed to arrest either suspect.
“An arrest, you can pretty much do when (the crime is) hot, when it’s fresh,” he said. “You slug me in the mouth, that’s an arrest. I report that you slugged me in the mouth three days ago, then they’re going to write you a summons.”
Garcia said she was surprised and hurt by the suspects’ alleged behavior, since she has known them for several years. From now on, she plans to enforce stricter rules about how discounts are entered.
“This industry is very tempting for a lot of people,” she said.
Higgins and Castor are scheduled to appear in Montezuma County Court on March 15.