Search warrant says $23,000 stolen from fire victim

Barbara Ann Stickley

WOODSTOCK – Law enforcement officials believe that a woman who died in a fatal fire in the early morning hours of Oct. 16 lost about $23,000 from her checking account to a caretaker who is facing three counts related to credit card fraud.

The $23,000 listed in a search warrant document filed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court is considerably higher than the $2,715 cited in a criminal complaint filed against Barbara Ann Stickley, 67, of 110 Printz St., Edinburg.

The search warrant affidavit states that Sgt. Christopher Baker of the Sheriff’s Office was helping investigate the fire that took the life of Judith Ann Coffman, 68, at her home at 3662 Stoney Creek Road, Edinburg, when Baker learned that Coffman and her family “noticed there were significant withdrawals from Mrs. Coffman’s … checking account, eventually completely depleting the account to the sum of around $23,000.”

The affidavit, signed by Baker on Oct. 16, states that the withdrawals began in August and continued to “the present day.”

“Stickley, who is not an authorized user, was seen on surveillance video using Mrs. Coffman’s debit card to make withdrawals from automatic teller machines” at BB&T bank branches in Woodstock, Baker wrote.

“Baker utilized databases and also confirmed that a vehicle registered to Stickley was in front of 110 Printz St., Edinburg,” the affidavit states.

The search warrant, which was executed at Stickley’s residence hours after the fire, lists “miscellaneous documents” as the items seized.

The cause and source of the fire remain under investigation. A news release issued by the Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue stated that a “third party service provider” reported the fire to the county’s emergency communications center at 12:31 a.m.

The search warrant document states that it was executed at 8:42 p.m. the same day.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda McDonald Wiseley clarified Thursday that the “third party service provider” mentioned in the news release was an emergency telephone number used by Coffman to activate a telecommunications relay service linked to the emergency communications center.

“She’s the one who called it in,” Wiseley said of Coffman.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com