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Aurora Police Employees Charged With Stealing Charity Gift Cards

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)- Two civilian employees with the Aurora Police Department have been criminally charged with stealing gift cards. Those gift cards had been donated by fellow police department employees to assist federal workers impacted by the 2018/2019 government shutdown.

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"It's unfortunate people sometimes make decisions they shouldn't," said Aurora Police Officer Anthony Camacho, a spokesperson for the department.

Court records show Ruth Brassell, 60, an administrative assistant, and another woman were both charged earlier this year with varying degrees of theft in connection with the gift cards.

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Brassell, an administrative assistant, resigned May 24, said Camacho, while the other, the department's volunteer and intern coordinator, was placed on paid administrative leave as of April 25. Contacted by CBS4, she said, "All I can say is I didn't do it. It's not fair. I can't discuss it further."

A phone message left for Brassell was not returned. Brassell is facing a misdemeanor theft charge while the other is facing a petty offense.

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Camacho explained the gift cards had been donated by APD employees to support members of federal law enforcement impacted by the government shutdown. After the shutdown ended earlier this year, gift cards that had not been used were supposed to be returned to the donors or retained by the department to be used as gifts for volunteers.

"Apparently they hung on to some they shouldn't have," said Camacho, who was not certain how many gift cards were in question.

One source familiar with the case said at least some of the cards were for Walmart. Both women are due to appear in court Sept. 16.

This is the second time this year Aurora police employees have been charged with theft related to charitable causes. In January, prosecutors charged former APD Officer Roland Albert with two counts of felony theft.

They accuse him of stealing about $80,000 from the Police Orphans Fund and a second department charity. Albert is free on $5,000 bond.

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