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Arizona woman faces long sentence in coin theft

PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- A Prescott judge warned a woman that she is facing a long prison term in connection with the theft of more than $100,000 in gold coins that prosecutors say she stole from her ex-boyfriend to buy cars for herself and friends.

Judge Jennifer Campbell of Yavapai County Superior Court calculated that 59-year-old Cheryl Clement faces a sentence of as much as 665 years in prison if convicted. In the event she accepts a plea agreement offered by the prosecution, Clement still could be sentenced to more than 50 years, The Daily Courier reported.

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said the gold coins belonged to an 84-year-old former boyfriend of Dewey's. Clement is accused of obtaining the combination to a safe belonging to the boyfriend and using it to take 88 gold coins, each weighing 1 ounce. D'Evelyn said the thefts happened between October 2013 and January.

The victim was in court Monday and spoke to the judge.

``That was my life savings and retirement fund,'' he said, but then added that all he really wanted was to get the titles to the vehicles she bought so he could recoup some of his money. He said he'd be happy with Clement serving just one year.

``You have a kind heart,'' Campbell said to him, ``but, unfortunately, one year is not an option for Ms. Clement.''

Her attorney, Jeff McNeice, said, ``Ms. Clement would be willing to turn over what she has, but some (of the cars) were literally given to others.''

Clement stood up and began to apologize to the victim, but Campbell warned her not to say anything that could make her ineligible for the plea offer.

Clement is facing 18 counts of trafficking in stolen property and one count of third-degree burglary in the case. She was already in custody on unrelated charges.

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