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Couple accused of trashing home they were supposed to be watching appear in court

WHECTV
Updated: September 11, 2019 05:31 PM
Created: September 11, 2019 04:45 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The couple accused of trashing a home they were supposed to be keeping an eye on while the owners were out of the country appeared in court on Wednesday for the first time.

Chelsea Cooke and Anthony Altamura are charged with criminal mischief and grand larceny after police say they not only trashed the house, but also stole items and then sold them at a pawn shop.  

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In August, Alan and Katherine Cooper had paid Chelsea Cooke $900 to watch their home and pets after an arrangement with a family member fell through. They returned from their European vacation to find the house a mess

According to court paperwork, the Coopers say that Cooke and her boyfriend Altamura did more than $500 in damage to their car and about $12 to $15 thousand worth of damage to their home.

They are also accused of stealing more than $12,000 worth of valuables, including a diamond engagement ring, wedding bands, gold and silver jewelry, an air conditioner and power tools.  

In addition, the three dogs, two cats and a rabbit that Cooke was hired to care for were allegedly neglected and appeared to be in distress when the Coopers returned home.  

Rochester Police arrested Cooke and Altamura after recovering the stolen items from various pawn shops.  

In court Wednesday, Cooke's attorney says she maintains her innocence.  

"It's clearly a tragedy what happened to these people and their home as well as their belongings so my heart goes out to them but at the same time again, my client maintains her innocence and we're just going to move forward," said defense attorney Paul Guerrieri.

Cooke and Altamura are scheduled to be back in court on Friday. 


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