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Felony burglary charges filed in bizarre clothing theft case
In the ultimate wardrobe malfunction, a Maple Valley woman helped nab an alleged burglar after seeing the suspect at a restaurant wearing her stolen clothing.
According to the King County Sheriff’s Department, the woman, who has asked to not be identified for safety reasons, reported her momentarily unattended purse stolen the morning of Jan. 22 at a Starbucks in the 27100 block of 168th Place in Covington by a then-unknown suspect who fled the store. The suspect used a key and address information from inside the purse to enter the woman’s nearby home, steal multiple items and change into woman’s clothing.
“It all happened under 90 minutes,” said the woman, a Maple Valley resident for the last 17 years. “I was crying… it was really a whirlwind-type thing.”
The alleged thief, later identified as Nikki Garcia-Corrales, 28, no known address, was charged Monday with one count of residential burglary, a class B felony. Based on her criminal history, she faces between 3-14 months imprisonment.
Garcia-Corrales told authorities after the arrest that two males drove her to the residence but fled and left her behind. No other individuals have been charged for this incident, according to court records.
Garcia-Corrales told deputies she called a taxi to pick her up from the woman’s home, but when it took too long, she walked, taking a lock box from the bedroom.
The female victim returned to the burglarized home and authorities were unable to locate any suspects.
The victim said it looked as though someone drank a liquid being stored in the refrigerator and believes someone took a shower.
“It was hard to sleep at all,” the woman said. “[My husband and I] both basically slept in a guarded way.”
The following day, the victim and two family members had lunch at Gloria’s Restaurant in Maple Valley and sat down at a table next to Garcia-Corrales, who was wearing the woman’s stolen True Religion jeans, a black-grey hooded-shirt and metallic grey ankle boots.
The woman said the chance-encounter was both strange and frightening.
“It was almost like somebody turned my shoulders to her,” she said. “It was like this feeling overwhelmed me.”
According to court records, Garcia-Corrales hid in the bathroom until police arrived and was taken into custody without incident. Records indicate that Garcia-Corrales admitted to the purse theft and home burglary.
Sgt. Cindi West, spokeswoman for the King County Sheriff’s Office, said it is not uncommon for keys and wallets to be stolen, followed by a burglary before the victim gets home, but that this series of events is quite unique.
“I can’t think of a time that this type of a scenario has happened,” said West, who added that investigators are looking into whether Garcia-Corrales is connected to any previous unsolved burglaries.
Garcia-Corrales has a criminal history that includes an arrest for possession of a stolen vehicle in December and two forgery convictions in 2012.
She is being held on $20,000 bond. Her arraignment is set for Feb. 10.
The victim believes this was not a random act.
“There was a lot done in a short amount of time,” she said. “Everything but silverware and dishes were emptied. It was ransacked.”
She sees this crime as having a broader scope than its fortuitous ending, but is unable to speak about it while the investigation is ongoing.
“The story is actually far more interesting than that she was wearing my clothes and I happened to find her,” she said. “Honestly, it’s kind of tragic .”
The victim plans to meet with a homeowners group to bring awareness to this problem and to help people be guarded against it from happening again.
“I think of people in more vulnerable situations that could be victims and it could turn out much differently,” she said. “We have had people break into houses, but not like this.”