NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The way police tell it, the theft was fairly simple. A little deception, some confusion, a lie-- and a woman walks out of the casino in a gray, full-length fur coat. Court documents reveal the woman who took it is a Maryland government employee, and she was later arrested.
According to a search warrant affidavit filed in DC Superior Court, the theft took place on a Saturday night in January at the new MGM National Harbor. A woman who was going to dinner at the Fish by Jose Andres restaurant told police she checked her $15,000 fur at the casino's coat check on January 28 just before 6 pm. When she returned with ticket in hand to claim it, her fur coat was not there.
The affidavit filed in the case then lays out what happened next. Investigators discovered the theft was captured on a surveillance camera. The footage shows another woman-- later identified as Rosa Aviles, a senior planning technician with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission-- being allowed into the coat check to retrieve a coat she had checked earlier that night. She was allowed inside, according to the document, because the attendant had been unable to find her coat.
But instead of getting her own coat, police say, Aviles spied the fur and told the attendant it was hers. The surveillance video then shows her putting on the fur and walking away.
Detectives were able to identify Aviles as a suspect after her photograph was distributed within the Prince George's County Police Department. Eighteen days later, an officer recognized the 45-year-old as a woman who worked at the county administration building in Upper Marlboro.
On March 2, detectives executed a search warrant at Aviles’ southwest DC home, where the fur was recovered. She was arrested the next day and charged with theft over $10,000.
FOX 5 has so far been unable to reach Aviles by phone or by email. She has not been suspended from her job, and we have not been able to learn if she has a lawyer.
MGM National Harbor said in a statement, "We are taking steps to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed."