Correction: The suspect in the theft is employed by the Aging and Long Term Care Agency. The suspect's employer was reported incorrectly in an earlier online version.
A Quay County mother and daughter were arrested on Christmas eve, accused of stealing Christmas gift cards intended for foster children.
The cards were purchased and donated by a local church, according to a press release from the Tucumcari Police Department.
Jennifer Dominguez, 24, of Tucumcari, was charged with larceny and tampering with evidence, and Bernadine Gutierrez, 46, of Logan, was charged with accessory to tampering with evidence, the release said.
Both subjects were released on bond.
Eleven gift cards, worth $25 each, were reported missing on Dec. 9, according to documents filed at Quay County Magistrate Court. The cards were intended for foster children under the care of the Children Youth and Family Department.
During police interviews, Dominguez said she visited her mother, Gutierrez, an employee of Aging and Long Term Care Agency. Both had been invited to help wrap packages for foster children, the court papers said.
"Ms. Dominguez stated that she removed all of the missing boxes containing gift cards and took them to her house," according to the court records. "Ms. Dominguez stated that later she felt guilty and eventually told her mother that she did have the cards.
Court records note further that, “Ms. Dominguez stated several times that her mother had told her to not use the cards and to get rid of them. Ms. Dominguez advised that she had cut up seven of the boxes and cards and flushed them down her toilet but became concerned about clogging up her toilet so she stopped. Ms. Dominguez stated that then (she) threw the remaining boxes into the dumpster at her apartment complex. Ms. Dominguez eventually admitted that she used that card at K-mart."
The cards had been reported stolen to Kmart and the police located Dominguez when she had tried to use the gift cards, the court documents said.
"It is a shame that any adults would take gifts intended for foster children, especially at this time of year," Tucumcari Police Chief Roger Hatcher said.
Hatcher also said he hopes the citizens of Tucumcari do not let this deter them from being generous in giving to children.