Nearly two years after a Mitchell couple’s belongings went missing following a flight out of Western Nebraska Regional Airport, some valuables have been recovered and a Gering woman has been arrested.
Court documents say that in Feb. 2019, the couple noticed that two toiletry bags in their checked baggage were missing. The female’s bag contained several necklaces and earrings valued at more than $14,000 .
She told investigators that one of the items was a handcrafted necklace made with an opal that belonged to her mother, and was commissioned by a local jeweler.
Last month, the jeweler contacted the victim after seeing a posting on the ‘308 Garage Sales’ group on Facebook marketplace. The post was selling $4 lanyards for face masks, but the seller, 41-year-old Crystal Lessert, was also wearing the custom-made necklace reported stolen in 2019.
Lessert was employed at SkyWest Airlines at Western Nebraska Regional Airport when the items were reported missing.
Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Deputies served a search warrant on Lessert’s home on Dec. 20, and among the items seized were two necklaces, including the custom opal piece, a pair of earrings, and drug paraphernalia.
Lessert was arrested and charged with a Class 2A Felony charge of Theft by Unlawful Taking (More than $5,000), and Possession of a Controlled Substance, cocaine.
A preliminary hearing for Lessert is set for Jan. 26 in Scotts Bluff County Court. Records show she bailed out after posting 10% of her $21,500 bond.