Facebook contributed to the sale of an allegedly stolen watch and got the watch back to its owner, according to a police affidavit filed in the case against a Proctor woman.
Ashley M. Wallett, 27, of Proctor, is scheduled to be arraigned in Rutland criminal court on a misdemeanor charge of possession of stolen property.
Wallett had been scheduled for arraignment Jan. 6, but after she failed to appear in court that day, Wallett’s arraignment was rescheduled.
The affidavit filed in the case notes that Wallett is married to Jeff Gero and uses the name Ashley Gero on Facebook. She said she identified as Wallett when she was arrested for the charge of possession of stolen property.
In the affidavit, written by Sgt. Dale Kerber, of the Fair Haven Police Department, Kerber said he was first contacted Sept. 19 by a woman regarding an issue with a recently purchased watch.
When Kerber met with the woman, she said her daughter had recently purchased an Apple watch that she had seen advertised on Facebook Marketplace. The mother said her daughter had been told the watch was unlocked and functional but after buying the watch Sept. 18, the watch would not pair up with her daughter’s phone the next day.
The mother said she posted to Facebook about what had happened and warned any readers not to buy merchandise from Wallett or Gero.
While the mother said Gero had responded to a message that said her daughter wanted her money back, there was no refund or a response by the afternoon of Sept. 19, so the mother contacted Fair Haven police.
Also, the mother said she posted a photo of the watch to Facebook on Sept. 18. Later the same day, she heard from a woman who said the watch was hers.
Kerber said the mother turned the watch over to him and he brought it to the Fair Haven workplace of the woman claiming to be the owner.
“Almost as soon as I brought the watch in to her, she received a message from Apple iPhone that her watch was being paired to her iPhone, which is one of the features of the Apple watches as long as it had been paired prior to this,” Kerber wrote in the affidavit.
The woman in Fair Haven told Kerber the watch had to be hers because it paired up as soon as the watch and phone were in proximity without using a password or human initiation of the process.
In a statement given to police, the owner said her watch had gone missing about July 22.
“I thought that I might have misplaced the watch. I tore my house and vehicle apart trying to find it,” she wrote.
On Sept. 18, the owner saw the mother’s Facebook posts, the statement said.
“I immediately recognized the watch as my watch by the distinctive watch band my husband had purchased especially for me,” the owner wrote.
She said she recognized the photos of Wallett and Gero and believed they had been at her workplace around the time her watch went missing.
Kerber said he met with the daughter who had bought the watch on Nov. 27. She told him she met with Wallett at Sunoco in Rutland on Sept. 17 to buy the watch. The daughter said when she realized the watch would not pair up with her phone, she tried to contact Wallett but Wallett was evasive. She said Wallett told her “she was trying to live cause (sic) she was homeless.”
The affidavit said Kerber met with Wallett on Oct. 4 in Rutland. She allegedly told Kerber she knew why he was there and denied stealing the watch. She told Kerber she bought the watch from someone in the parking lot of a big-box store.
Kerber said Wallett alluded to a break-in at the watch-owner’s home during which the watch could have been taken, but the owner said her home was never burglarized.
If Wallett is convicted of the pending charge, she could be sentenced to up to a year in prison.