Phillips woman charged with having children steal jewelry from Oxford home

By Tony Reaves, Sun Journal
Posted Nov. 01, 2012, at 6:55 a.m.

PARIS, Maine — A woman accused of using her daughter and her niece to help her steal more than $15,000 in jewelry from an Oxford home in April was arrested this week.

Valene R. Bachelder, 28, of Phillips, faces one count of theft by unauthorized taking and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She was indicted by a grand jury in August but couldn’t be found then.

This week, she was arrested in Franklin County and transported from the Franklin County Detention Center to Oxford County Jail, where she remains.

She has signed a Maine Pretrial Services contract but must also pay a $1,000 cash bail to be released. She is due to appear in Oxford County Superior Court on March 7, 2013.

According to reports by the Oxford Police Department, on April 21 a Gore Road woman reported that several rings and necklaces were stolen from her bedroom while she was away for the weekend.

She said her son and her son’s girlfriend, Bachelder, had been in the home over the weekend, along with two girls. Her bedroom door had been deadbolted, she said, so the thief would have entered through a window. The woman had taken pictures of her jewelry and valued the many rings, necklaces, pendants and bracelets stolen at more than $15,000.

Lt. Michael Ward of the Oxford Police Department said Bachelder’s daughter, who was 12 at the time of the theft, confessed a few days after the incident that she threw the jewelry into the Sandy River in Farmington.

In the meantime, according to Ward’s report, he was told Bachelder was addicted to prescription drugs and may have stolen the jewelry herself and sold it to buy drugs. Ward wrote that the daughter eventually confessed to stealing the rings and necklaces for her mother, who had bought her a television so she wouldn’t say anything.

The girl’s cousin, who is 11, also admitted to taking part in the crime. Both were issued juvenile summonses. Bachelder’s daughter lives with her father, who is no longer associated with the girl’s mother.

Ward made several attempts to question Bachelder but was told she had left the state. A grand jury indicted her in August on charges of theft for taking the jewelry and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child for involving the two girls.

Ward said Wednesday that the jewelry has not been recovered.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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