ID Discovery

We purchased our house in Tucson in 2001.  It was a place with some deferred maintenance issues.  We bought the house in April.  In June, when we returned from our first European adventure to find that the remodel on our Bellevue house had been … we’ll just say, somewhat delayed.  Between the kitchen remodel and our double-paned window replacement, things were so bad that we couldn’t even unboard our dogs, Nikki and Tess back then.  (Named for Nicolai Tesla, by the way.)

So since we had this new (old—vintage 1954) house, we de-boarded our dogs, loaded our stuff (bedding included) into our 1994 Suburban (which we still own, by the way) and headed south.  As we neared Tucson, we called our favorite hotel, the Arizona Inn, and discovered that dogs weren’t welcome.  (They still aren’t.) And so, remembering that there was a mattress store in town, Bedmart.  (Closed now.)  We called them up, and asked if we bought a mattress that night, would they help us load it on to the top of the Suburban?  “Lady,” the guy said, “if you buy a mattress from me tonight, I’ll deliver it myself.” We did. He did.

But before we went to the mattress store, we stopped by the house.  The dogs raced into the living room and rolled like crazy on the orange shag carpeting.  (Note to real estate purchasers:  Neither one of those things is a good sign.)  The carpeting in the other rooms was equally unacceptable.  So we went to the mattress store and bought a mattress and a bed to go with it.  On the way home, we stopped by a carpeting store and asked if they would come out the next day and measure our house for new carpets.  We told them, “Whatever kind of in-stock Berber you have on hand.”  Then we went to the house to meet the mattress guy.  The library was the only room that had parquet flooring instead of filthy carpeting, so we put the bed there.

Then the rehab began.  Over the course of the next week, we fixed things.  The new Berber carpeting was installed.  We had the ducts cleaned.  (We broke one vacuum and had to have them bring over another.  The duct-cleaner guy told us he didn’t think the ducts had ever been cleaned. (Since 1954!)  We had AC installed, two units to replace the piggy-back AC/swamp cooler system that had been used before.

By then, we had already been to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and done an amazing Sunday morning buy-everything shopping trip that involved THIRTEEN CARTS!  (By the way, at B,B, and B, you have to break orders like that into two transactions.  Don’t ask me how I know.)  We called the mattress guy and bought three more bed and mattress sets.  He obligingly agreed to move our first mattress out of the library and into our newly carpeted master at no charge.

And then what did we do?  Because I seem to thrive on pressure, we invited company (two couples) to come visit.  There was a problem, though.  Other than the four beds and an outdoor dining table with four chairs (Which we still have, by the way!) we had zero furniture.  And so, on Saturday morning, with our company due to arrive around five, I went shopping.  I went to a second hand furniture store, Terri’s Consign and Design, on Wilmot at Broadway.  I went through the place like a dose of salts.  I had them put sold stickers on all kinds of things—chairs, lamps, end tables, side tables, and a couple of flower arrangements.  Then I went to get Bill so he could pass judgement.  He added in a dining room table and six chairs.  We paid for the whole lot—not much more than two-thousand bucks—and it was all delivered by three that afternoon. And voila!  By the time our company arrived, that new (old) house was fully furnished.

A couple of years passed.  We remodeled the house.  We went back to Terri’s Consign and Design on occasion, looking for bargains.  At one point, we found a table—a former corporate conference table—that would work for our newly designed dining room space.  We bought it for $1200, found a collection of leather chairs, and brought it home.  The old dining room table, the $600 one, moved to the library.  It’s still there.  When we’re in Tucson, that’s where we usually eat.  The dining room table is reserved for … well … company.

We’re snowbirds.  We are part-timers in Tucson.  The next time we went back to Tucson, Terri’s Design and Consign was gone.  When we asked around town, we were told that they’d gone through bankruptcy.  We were sorry about that, but with no further information, that’s how things stood.  Until last week.

I’ll confess.  I watch ID Discovery.  I watch Dateline.  I watch Forensic Files.  I watch 48 Hours. So last week, on ID Discovery, the intro said something about a consignment furniture store.  And so we watched.  It turned out that Terri’s Design and Consign was a partnership between Terri and her mother, Loretta.  It was a booming business.  At some point Loretta hooked up with a boyfriend—a great guy, to all appearances.  For the next several years, he “handled” the finances.  When Loretta gave him checks to pay taxes or make mortgage payments, he washed them and made them payable to himself instead.

Eventually Loretta caught up with him.  On the day she realized her house was about to go into foreclosure, she disappeared.  Initially the case was treated as a missing persons case.  Before there was any resolution, Terri’s Consign and Design was swallowed up in bankruptcy proceedings. Years later, when the boyfriend’s duplicity was discovered and he was about to be arrested, he committed suicide.  End of story, right?  Not quite.

Years after that, Loretta’s skeletal remains were found in the desert—with a plastic bag still over her head. It wasn’t a missing person’s case.  It was a homicide the whole time.

It was good to know the real story.  It was awful to know the end of the story.  Terri’s business is gone.  Her mother is gone.  She’s still grieving.

We still have all that wonderful furniture, but I’m sorry, too.

19 thoughts on “ID Discovery

  1. It is a cold and miserable rainy morning in NWCT. Thank goodness I checked to see if your blog was up before I started some housework.

    You have such great adventures. I think your zest for life shows thru when you tell how you made the Tucson house livable. I would have loved watching you buying out a couple of stores. Keep living it up as only you can. 🙂

  2. Sorry, I don’t feel sorry for Terri. They continued to accept consignments when they knew they were going bankrupt, essentially stealing the furniture from hundreds of unsuspecting people. If you saw the list of creditors in the bankrupcy filing you would be amazed – as big as a mid-szed town phone book.

    • Dear Steve,

      I just tried sending you an e-mail, but it bounced. Please send along your new address because the one I have is evidently out of date.

      Thank you for posting the other side of the coin here. I was a purchaser as opposed to a seller, and I’m sorry for the people who were cheated.

  3. What a tragic story. Thanks for posting though. I love that you still have the furniture and that your pups were your first priority.

  4. The place where you got the mattresses sounds like the furniture/bedding store that was owned by a guy named Austin. It is gone now too. Was neat TIA off Nogales Hwy.

  5. Wow…. that kinda came out of nowhere.
    Poor Terri. It proves that sometimes we don’t know people at all. We had an accountant in our county that did taxes and investments. This was back when ID wasn’t required. He got caught by the feds in a nifty trick. He did your taxes incorrectly. You didn’t know. He filed a corrected return with a change of address so the check went to a PO box. He then cashed them and kept the money. Those who bought insurance with him found out he had never filed it but instead pocketed the money. The same thing happened in investments. You just never know about folks.

  6. We lost hundreds of dollars when TC&D closed.
    we asked them to sell some of my late mother’s furnishings which did not go with our decor.
    Never received any money nor did we here from them again.
    We were out some money.
    Teri’s loss was much greater.

  7. Love reading about your adventures…and reading your books. Field of Bones kept me awake all night…could not put it down. Thanks for the joy I feel when I read about Sheriff Brady, Beau or Ali. You have given an old lady many enjoyable hours.

  8. Awaiting your new books, I decided to start over with Beau and Joanna books. It’s been 8+ years since I read them! Who knew? I did not remember them and am enjoying them again! Keep writing! Field of Bones is on my list to buy!

  9. The stories off your own adventures definitely read just like one of your books. We are always anxious to read the next line to learn the outcome. Are you back I Tucson now?

  10. This adventure surely does sound like a plot for a new book. But who will solve it?
    Sheriff Brady, Beau or Ali???
    I watch the same shows on TV as you. I also am hooked on “Snapped”.
    My husband worries when I watch that one.

    Thank you for all the wonderful hours of reading about my favorite hero and heroines.

  11. I was living in Phoenix at the time all of this with Terri and her mother happened. If memory serves correctly her mother was found in the desert by a psychic who ended up being the woman that the TV show Medium was about. One of the local news station did a story on it.

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