A pair of Lufkin dental office workers have been arrested and charged with stealing gold meant for grills and fillings from their place of work.
Authorities there say that Heather Ricks Terry, 30, and Mary Dorsey, 42, swiped about $5,000 of the precious metals from the Palmer and Ross Dental Group and sold them piecemeal to gold buyers at parties late last year. Each of the women is charged with state jail felony theft, which could get them two years behind bars.
Lufkin cops say in an arrest affidavit that Dr. David Palmer alerted them to the alleged scam after one of Dorsey and Terry's co-workers blew the whistle.
The story begins at Lufkin's Posh Cottage, the site of a November gold party. Terry, Dorsey, and a co-worker attended, but the third person reportedly left early, before Terry and Dorsey approached the buying table with a quantity of used and unused dental gold and were astonished to get an offer of $3,600.
"When we quoted the amount for the dental gold they seemed shocked and said that they had more to sell at a later date," a witness reportedly told police. "A statement was made by one of the girls not to tell the third girl how much money they made because she didn't help them that much."
The women told the buyer that their employer had recently died and given them the gold.
Terry's mother hosted a second gold party in December. A buyer would later tell police that as the event was drawing to a close, Terry's mom sidled up to him and asked that they adjourn to another home, because one of the other guests "had a big mouth."
The quarter adjourned to the younger Terry's home. There, another sale was reportedly made, this one evidently of bottom-of-the-barrel stuff.
"This gold was unlike the previous dental gold that we had previously purchased," the buyer told police. "The previous gold had been separated from the porcelain and this gold had not. There was a particular piece that still had a tooth in it. The tooth still had blood on it."
When interviewed by police, Dorsey said that their late boss's widow had given them the gold. The widow denied that version of events. Warrants went out for Dorsey and Terry on March 29 and they were arrested Monday.
Back in January, Terry lost her job and was charged with four counts of prescription fraud, which could explain if not excuse her thirst for turning gold into cash, and, allegedly, Lord Vicodin's sweet embrace.
According to the Lufkin Daily News, Terry forged at least two hydrocodone prescriptions from Dr. Palmer at her place of work. (She was out on $20,000 bail when the gold-selling case came to light.)
"We had no idea this was going on. She was a great employee," said Palmer's dental partner Dr. Amy Ross. "She never gave us any reason to think she was anything less than honest."
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And this was before either Ross or Palmer heard about the gold...
Dorsey had a clean record before these allegations came to light.