Lufkin PD: Woman paid to have SUV stolen to 'get out from under' payments

Theresa Christopher (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Theresa Christopher (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin Police Department investigators arrested a 50-year-old Nacogdoches woman Monday for state-jail felony insurance fraud after she allegedly hired someone to steal her 2006 Chevrolet Avalanche from a local restaurant and filed a bogus insurance claim for $16,779.

Theresa Thompson Christopher was booked into the Nacogdoches County Jail Monday on the state-jail felony insurance charge. She was released later that day after she posted a $2,500 bail.

According to the arrest warrant, a Lufkin Police officer responded to the car theft call in the parking lot of the El Chico restaurant located at 2104 S. First Street on Jan. 13, 2013. Christopher told the officer that someone had stolen her 2006 Chevrolet Avalanche while she was inside eating.

The affidavit stated that the LPD officer's report noted that no broken glass or any other signs of forced entry were found in the parking lot.

Twelve days later, deputies with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office located the burned-out hulk of Christopher's Avalanche near the dead end of Piez Road in the Cedar Grove community. The vehicle was missing all four tires and its chrome rims and "was a total loss." The VIN number investigators found on the vehicle's frame matched that of Christopher's Avalanche.

LPD Detective Ron Stubblefield then man contact with Christopher and obtained copies of the loan contract on here vehicle, payment history, insurance information, and any major purchases she made for the vehicle.

Over the course of his investigation, Stubblefield learned that Christopher had allegedly purchased $2,370 worth of new tires and rims for the SUV on August 10, 2102, the affidavit stated. The Avalanche was purchased from a Nacogdoches dealership on June 18, 2012 for $21,877.71. However, with the interest rate and the finance charges, the total pay off would have been $40,927.84. Stubblefield later learned that Christopher had owed $1,067.44 in past due payments to Santander Consumer USA at the time she reported her Avalanche stolen.

Christopher allegedly said in a written statement that she didn't know who stole her vehicle. However, she later failed a polygraph test, and agreed to another interview with Stubblefield.

During the second interview, Christopher admitted to Stubblefield that "she had arranged to have the 2006 Chevrolet Avalanche stolen to get out from under the payments." She also said the tires, chrome rims, and $300 in cash were her payment to have the SUV stolen.

According to the arrest affidavit, Christopher allegedly filed a stolen vehicle claim with State Farm Mutual Insurance of Texas three days before ACSO deputies located her SUV. The affidavit said Christopher filed the claim, "knowing that the claim contained false or misleading information."

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