Police say North Liberty woman attempted to plant evidence in identity theft case

IOWA COUNTY — A North Liberty woman is accused of entering an Iowa County residence in order to plant evidence that would exonerate her from identity theft charges.

According to the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office, 46-year-old Cheri Sells was arrested in North Liberty on Thursday. However, Iowa County Lt. Tim Walters said Sells “fell ill” at the time of her arrest and was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for treatment. Walters said Friday he did not know if Sells had been booked at the Johnson County Jail yet.

The investigation into Sells goes back until at least November 2014. She is accused of forging a check on Nov. 20 for more than $1,000. Sells was arrested on Dec. 16 and charged with identity theft, a Class D felony. At that time, she was told to stay away from the victim and his family, Walters said. Sells later bonded out of jail.

Walters said a motor vehicle burglary was committed on Dec. 11, five days before Sells’ arrest. Financial documents were taken from the vehicle, which belonged to a relative of the identity theft victim, Walters said. Walters said he didn’t have enough evidence to arrest Sells in that case.

That changed on Jan. 24, when Sells allegedly entered an Iowa County residence and left items — which included the financial documents stolen in the vehicle burglary — in the home. The home belongs to another relative of the original identity theft victim.

Once those documents were recovered, Walters said he was able to connect Sells with the vehicle burglary.

“I didn’t have a good case for that until she committed this trespass, where she left items in that relatives house,” he said.

Though Sells illegally entered the home, because she did so without the intent to commit an assault, theft or felony, she will not face a burglary charge, Walters said. Additionally, while placing the items in the house represented an apparent attempt to clear her name, Walters said because she did not actually reach out to investigators, she will not face charges related to tampering with the case.

Walters said Sells had a romantic relationship with a relative in the family that has been victimized. He said he’s concerned that she has victimized another family. More charges are expected to be filed against her in other jurisdictions, though Walters said he could not comment on those investigations.

Article source: http://www.kcrg.com/subject/news/public-safety/crime/police-say-north-liberty-woman-attempted-to-plant-evidence-in-identity-theft-case-20150130

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