A judge on Friday continued hearings for a Yuma couple, who allegedly falsely reported that their SUV was stolen in an attempt to defraud their insurance company, for later next month.
Attorney Michael Donovan, who represents Isabel McBee told the court that an attorney from his office has been discussing the case at length with the prosecution and working through the discovery process, but there were a few matters that still needed to be resolved.
Donovan explained that one of the reasons for the delays in getting the matters resolved is that investigators have been busy with the Manuel Bustamante murder trial, but added he believed they could all still be wrapped up in about 30 days.
In a separate hearing for Patrick McBee, his attorney, Richard Edgar, cited the same difficulties in his case and also asked for a 30 day continuance.
After hearing both attorneys' requests, Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson, who is presiding over the case, rescheduled both of the McBees' next hearings for final management conferences to be held at 8:30 a.m. on July 26.
Patrick McBee, who is a Customs and Border Protection officer, has been charged with felony offenses of theft, fraudulent schemes and artifices, and theft of means of transportation. His wife, Isabel, is facing one felony count of theft of means of transportation, one felony count of fraudulent schemes and artifices and one misdemeanor count of false reporting to a law enforcement agency.
Both McBees are out of custody on their own recognizance.
According to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, deputies received a report of a stolen vehicle March 23. The reporting party, identified as 49-year-old Isabel Christina McBee, told deputies that her 2012 Lincoln Navigator, worth approximately $72,000, was missing from her residence.
The deputy who took the report became suspicious when McBee could not produce the vehicle's spare key, stating that it was kept in a safe to which she did not know the combination. During the deputy's investigation, it was discovered that the vehicle's key was equipped with a security chip, which the vehicle needed to be started.
The case was turned over to the YCSO's Criminal Investigations Division, whose detectives discovered that records indicated the vehicle crossed the border into Mexico in the early morning hours of March 22, a full day prior to when McBee claimed to have last seen it. Video surveillance provided by the U.S. Port of Entry in San Luis, Ariz., reportedly showed McBee entering the U.S. on foot only 42 minutes after the vehicle had left the country.
During a later interview with detectives, McBee admitted that she took the SUV into Mexico, leaving it and the key with a relative. She further admitted to having filed a false report of the vehicle's theft to law enforcement and her insurance company.
She also reportedly revealed that her husband, Patrick McBee, was aware of the scheme because she had told him about it. When contacted later by investigators he declined to speak to them and was subsequently booked into the Yuma County Adult Detention Center.