Teller Testifies In ColoradoHold-Up

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CORTEZ, Colo. - (05/08/06) -- The suspect in a $105,000 robbery atSouthwest Colorado CU a year ago tried to buy the silence of thechief teller with a $15,000 pay-off, according to police testimonyFriday, in the opening day of the armed robbery trial of DanjaVaughan. The teller that fateful day, Rebecca Smith, first toldpolice neither Vaughan or her 62-year-old mother Sharon Vaughanwere involved in the hold-up, but later changed her story toimplicate both mother and daughter, according to Cortez Police Det.Jim Shethar. Det. Shethar testified Friday that he arrived at thecredit union just minutes after the mother-and-daughter arebelieved to have cleaned out the vault, except for coins. BothVaughans became suspects when the mother tried to pay her back rentwith $20,000 in $20 bills stolen from the credit union. Det.Shethar testified that the former teller later came to him afterchanging her story and turned in a stuffed animal filled with$15,000 taken from the credit union, alleged payment for hercooperation with the Vaughans. Later, Cortez Police searched theVaughans’ apartment and found more than $24,000 hidden in adog bed and more than $18,000 in a safe, all of it apparentlycredit union loot. Both Vaughans tried to commit suicide after theyfound out police were on to them. The two were found passed-out inthe back of a van on a rural road after ingesting pills andhazardous chemicals. Mother Sharon Vaughan pleaded guilty to lessercharges last month and faces up to 10 years in prison when she issentenced in June. Both the mother and daughter were also foundguilty in February of stealing horses in Utah and Kansas in 2002and 2004 to run their horse breeding business.

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