A former employee of the Medicine Man in Cortez was sentenced Thursday in District Court for misdemeanor theft from the marijuana dispensary.
Timber Higgins was sentenced to five days of electronic home monitoring and 24 months of probation by District Court Judge Doug Walker. She was also ordered to pay $7,117 in restitution to the business, and incurred $1,500 in court and probation costs.
Higgins had been charged with Class 5 felony theft, but she pleaded guilty to Class 1 misdemeanor theft as part of a plea bargain.
Sheila Castor, another former employee of Medicine Man, has also been charged with Class 5 felony theft, and her case is pending, court officials said.
In January, Medicine Man owners Gilbert and Sherry Garcia reported to Cortez police they suspected the two were using military discounts to steal from the store.
According to police records, 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.
After an investigation, Cortez police estimated that $12,000 had been stolen.
Higgins wept as she addressed the court during her sentencing hearing, stating: “I apologize to the Garcias and my family for my bad decisions.”
Sherry Garcia said she was surprised and hurt by the theft, especially from someone she knew for years.
“Justice has been served. Now she has to pay me back,” Garcia told The Journal on Thursday.
The company changed the procedures for giving discounts to customers, she said. They are now overseen and implemented by the manager.
During the sentencing hearing, Higgins requested the probation condition that she not possess a firearm be waived to allow her to go big-game hunting, which she said she depends on for food. Walker granted the waiver allowing her to possess a gun for the 2017 hunting season.