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Woman accused of impersonating a fire loss victim

Woman accused of impersonating a fire loss victim

BLACK FOREST, Colo. - A woman is accused of claiming to be a Black Forest Fire loss victim and taking advantage of the free resources offered by a local non-profit.

Since the fire, Black Forest Crosses for Losses has been offering resources to those who lost their homes in the fire - things like clothing, food and household items. Founder Amanda Davis said shortly after the fire, a woman came in claiming she was a fire-loss victim, giving a fake address and taking free items like dog food and clothing.

"There wasn't anything that she didn't take," Davis said. "And most of it was with brand new tags on them."

Davis said the first time the woman came in, she and other volunteers were suspicious. The second time she came in, Davis called the Sheriff's office.

"We don't tolerate that. This is our home and these things are here for people who truly need them and we're not open to being taken advantage of, and we'll certainly put our foot down and stop it whenever we can," she said.

Linda Grant was ticketed for theft. Documents from the citation say the first time she came into the store, she could've taken between $750 and $2,000 in items. And the second time, between $50 and $300, resulting in a total of between $800 and $2,300.

"Certainly, based on our investigation, we certainly felt that probable cause existed in order to charge her with those crimes and ultimately have the courts and a potential jury decide guilt or innocence in the case," said Lt. Jeff Kramer, with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Over the phone, Grant denied claiming to be a fire-loss victim. She said she lost her Black Forest home in a divorce shortly before the fire, and that she sought help from Crosses for Losses not knowing it focused on helping fire victims. She added that the items she took couldn't have totaled more than $100.

Grant was scheduled to appear in court this week, but the case was postponed.

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