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Petaluma mother accused in classroom thefts

A Petaluma woman suspected of going through classrooms at her son's grade school and stealing purses from two teachers was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of charging $1,200 on a stolen credit card and attempting to use stolen cards at two local supermarkets, police said.

Nicole Nicolas, 33, had two outstanding warrants for her arrest on drug-related cases in Lake County when she was arrested at her eastside Petaluma home. She faces multiple counts of suspected commercial burglary, grand theft and possession of stolen property, police said.

Nicolas is suspected of searching multiple classrooms and taking two purses from teachers at La Tercera Elementary School, where her 10-year-old son attends school, police said.

The thefts were reported just as police were being called to a Raley's Supermarket regarding a woman who attempted to use an apparently stolen credit card to charge nearly $1,000 in gift cards and other merchandise, police Sgt. Jim Stephenson said.

When a Raley's manager asked for identification, she said she would get it from her car but never returned, Stephenson said.

Police learned from the local Kmart that another $1,200 in merchandise had been bought through three purchases with a stolen credit card. And the Safeway called to say someone had used a stolen credit card, Stephenson said.

Officers were waiting at her Clelia Drive home when she and her son arrived around 3:45 p.m. In the car, they found property stolen from the school and merchandise from the stores, police said.

She was booked into the Sonoma County Jail where she was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail.


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