EDMONDS — The former owner of a collectible miniature doll store in Edmonds pleaded guilty to wire fraud Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Connie Bigelow, 53, allegedly set fire to her business, CJN Miniatures & More, on April 30, 2018, in an attempt to collect on insurance.
She had moved her business the year before to the building on 23030 Highway 99. She sold miniatures and collectibles, consigned items on behalf of others and rented space to vendors. Between October 2017 and April 2018, she reportedly fell behind on payments and bounced checks as she over-drafted her bank account.
Bigelow allegedly set the fire beneath three Thomas Kinkade paintings worth thousands of dollars each. Afterward, she told the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office that when she left, “there was no smoke, smell or anything that seemed out of the ordinary,” according to charging papers. She allegedly told her insurance representatives that someone broke into her business and lit the fire.
On May 1, 2018, she put in a claim with her insurance company. She carried a policy with State Farm covering up to $100,000 in loss of business property and loss of income. The policy didn’t cover claims involving arson.
As part of the plea, Bigelow agreed to pay full restitution, currently estimated to total more than $195,000. That number could go up as the court identifies more people who lost property in the fire.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 17.