JOHNSTOWN, Colo. - A mother with a criminal history who made national news last year when she publicly protested that her son was suspended from school for throwing an "imaginary grenade" is once again moving through the court system.
Records indicate that Amanda "Mandy" Lorraine Watkins is now charged with one misdemeanor count of theft.
An arrest affidavit from the Johnstown Police Department outlines a nearly four-month investigation into a theft at Watkins' former employer. On November 13, 2013, Connected Chiropractic in Johnstown called police to report a the crime. Officers examined the building and found no sign of forced entry.
It states, "Dr. Brad Cranwell reported a former employee, identified as Amanda 'Mandy' Watkins had recently been 'let go' on 12 Nov 2013…When the agreement was made for Watkins to part ways with the business, arrangements were made for her to return this computer, credit card, keys and other items."
The next morning, however, the keys and two computers were missing. Watkins told police she left everything at the business the night before and remembered "locking the door." For several weeks, officers tried to contact Watkins for further interviews but she "became completely uncooperative and avoided police."
In December she agreed to take a polygraph, which she passed and the case became inactive. February 21, 2014 an officer received a call from Jacob Isebrands who lived with Watkins and was suspicious of two laptops Watkins claimed were hers.
Isebrands told 7NEWS he was trying to print documents from the laptop and was having issues with it connecting to the printer.
"So I checked the printer queue, that little icon down there on your taskbar. It raised up and it said the two documents I was trying to print and it said ownership of the printer queue, it said 'Dr. Brad,'" he said. "At that point, (I thought of) the story she told me early on when I first met her -- about how some employer of hers tried to accuse her of robbery and theft, mainly laptops, and said to me 'Why would I need to take laptops, I have my own?'"
Police were able to obtain a search warrant and found the two stolen laptops at Watkins residence on March 1, 2014. Her arraignment for the case is set for March 14th at 9 a.m. in Weld County.
Dr. Cranwell issued a statement to 7NEWS regarding patient information that could have been accessed via the laptops.
"As soon as we realized the computers were missing, we contacted our practice management company for their assistance in ensuring our patients’ security and privacy. Passwords were immediately changed and all access to company records was halted until security was ensured…We have been assured that no personal or medical patient information was accessed by Ms. Watkins."
Watkins was employed by the office for a couple months.
- Watkins' history -
In February of 2013, Watkins contacted 7NEWS and other agencies to say her son had been unfairly punished for "throwing an imaginary grenade into an imaginary box that had evil stuff inside."
The Thompson School District, however, said a teacher saw the boy throwing real rocks at other children on the playground. A spokesman said the principal imposed a two-hour in-school suspension as punishment.
Still, when 7NEWS asked Watkins about her "imaginary grenade" story, she stood by it. When asked if the district was lying about the rock throwing, she replied, "yes, absolutely," and, "it's not true at all."
In 2009, Watkins claimed the family dog saved her and her children from dying when their Greeley house caught fire as they slept. Yet she was later charged with felony arson and six other counts in the fire and ultimately pleaded guilty to false reporting/fake crime and the other counts were dismissed.
Records show she was sentenced to 153 days in jail for that incident.
Other records show she was also arrested for arson in 2001 but also pleaded down in that case. In the end, she was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years of intensive supervision and 120 hours of community service.
In 2013, 7NEWS asked Watkins if her criminal history cast doubt on her own credibility.
"The only thing I can say about that is I have absolutely done things in my past I'm not proud of," Watkins said. "I'm completely willing to talk about my history and admit I've done things that were dishonest in the past, but that's not what this is about it."
"I did a lot of things that I shouldn't have and I don't think it changes what kind of mother that I am," she said.
- May 20, 2011. Watkins was arrested in Loveland on a charge of child abuse/negligently causing bodily injury. She pleaded no contest to child abuse/no injury. A no contest plea has the same legal effect as a guilty plea. She was sentenced to 24 months probation and 24 hours of community service.
-Feb. 3, 2010. Watkins is arrested for allegedly setting fire to her home on Sept. 15, 2009. She's charged with felony arson, criminal mischief (property damage); identity theft, theft, 2 counts of misdemeanor child abuse and false reporting/fake crime. Watkins pleaded guilty to false reporting and the other charges are dismissed. She was sentenced to 153 days in jail.
- Aug. 20, 2008. Watkins was arrested by Greeley police on an Arapahoe County case involving charges of theft, computer crime/theft, forgery, fraud and attempting to bribe a public servant. She pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft and the other charges were dismissed. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail and eight years' probation.
- Jan. 18, 2004. Watkins was arrested in Larimer County on a felony forgery charge. She pleads guilty and is sentenced to 81 days in jail and three years intensive supervision probation.
- June 12, 2001. Watkins was arrested in Larimer County on a felony arson charge. She pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of attempted arson and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years of intensive supervision probation and 120 hours of community service. She was later arrested twice for failing to comply with her probation conditions in 2004 and 2005.