A simple Facebook post led authorities to a Butte woman they believe stole a pickup from a chef at the Rib & Chop House in April and tried to sell expensive cooking knives that were in it.
It took police a while to put all the pieces together, but when they did, prosecutors charged Heather Marie Taylor, 31, with felony theft. She didn’t show for her arraignment Wednesday so District Judge Robert Whelan planned to issue a bench warrant for her arrest.
On April 23, someone hopped into a black 1994 Dodge pickup in the parking lot of the Copper King Clarion Inn near the Rib & Chop House and took off. It’s owned by a cook at the restaurant, who had left his keys in the vehicle.
Police found the truck abandoned two days later, but several items had been taken, including “kicker” speakers and a set of Anolon kitchen knives valued at $500 to $600.
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Three days after the theft, the owner’s daughter saw knives posted as a “Home chef kit” on the Facebook page of “Bruce Heather Taylor.” The owner told police they were probably his and two of the knives would have small gouges in the blade from sharpening.
Police talked to Taylor and she said she posted them on Facebook classifieds for a friend, but she didn’t know how to spell his last name or get in touch with him. She also had no friend on Facebook by that name, police said.
Police then reviewed video footage from the hotel lobby on April 23 and believed a woman that fit a previous description in the incident was Taylor. She then told police she had gotten the key to the truck from a man who was now in jail with her husband. But that man doesn’t own a Dodge truck.
Police say Taylor had pawned kicker speakers at a local pawn shop on April 27. She had also taken down the Facebook post about the knives a few minutes after initially talking with police. Based on that and the other evidence, prosecutors charged her with felony theft.