The ongoing investigation of the murder of Lois Colley has uncovered an unexpected case of grand larceny.
While investigating the Colley homicide, New York State Police discovered that Angel H. Parra Penafiel, 33, and Hugo Ramirez-Morales, 33, had allegedly stolen and sold more than $30,000 worth of hay over the past several years from Colley’s Windswept Farm in North Salem.
State Police in Somers arrested the two men on charges of third-degree Grand Larceny, a Class D felony, on Sunday.
An anonymously sourced report in The New York Times says the theft was discovered “tangentially” to the murder investigation and is not being viewed as a “big break” in the case. Police were initially looking into a string of burglaries in Connecticut as a possible lead in the murder investigation, but, as The Journal News reported Wednesday, the arrest could indicate a shift in focus to the staff at Colley’s estate.
Colley’s body was found by a caretaker in the laundry room of the Colley estate’s main house in North Salem on November 9, 2015. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Police found no indication of forced entry in the home and the only missing item was a fire extinguisher. No arrests have been made in the homicide investigation.
Parra Penafiel and Ramirez-Morales both worked for the Colleys for several years. The two men were involved in a plan to steal the farm’s hay between February 12, 2013 and November 9, 2015. Police declined to tell The New York Times how the hay was stolen.
Parra Penafiel and Ramirez-Morales were arraigned at the Town of North Salem Justice Court and are being held in the Westchester County Jail on $50,000 bail/bond. Both are set to return to court on January 11, 2016.