BUSHKILL TWP., Pa. -

Authorities in Northampton County say a Bushkill Township woman claims she withdrew money from her mother’s bank account to help pay for drug treatment.

Bushkill Township police charged Sierra J. Cardwell with forgery, theft and receiving stolen property for allegedly stealing nearly $3,000 from her mother. District Judge James Narlesky arraigned the 26-year-old Thursday night, setting bail at $25,000 with a 10 percent cash option.

In August, Karen Romano reported that her driver’s license had gone missing in June and that someone had withdrawn money from her savings account, according to court records. She told Bushkill Township police that she had suspected her daughter because of a heroin addiction and that she was “most likely desperate.”

Romano said she suspected her daughter took her license in the event the bank asked for identification.

Bank surveillance photos allegedly showed Cardwell, of Bushkill Center Road in Bushkill Township, and her boyfriend, Christopher Barnes, at the drive-through window four times in the span of two weeks withdrawing $2,900, according to records. Authorities have also charged Barnes in connection with the thefts.

Investigators interviewed Cardwell on Aug. 30 in Northampton County Prison, where she was being held on unrelated theft and drug paraphernalia charges. She allegedly told authorities that she had asked her mother for financial help before just taking the money because she was angry with her.

Cardwell claimed she used the money for Suboxone, which costs $180 a week from a clinic in Phillispburg, N.J. Suboxone is used to treat opioid addiction. Police said she ended the interview.

Following Cardwell’s release from county jail earlier this month, police interviewed Cardwell and Barnes about the withdrawals from Romano’s account. Cardwell claimed that her mother agreed to help her get off heroin, writing out a $500 withdrawal slip and giving her daughter her license and permission to withdraw more money as necessary.

Cardwell allegedly told investigators that she directed her mother to claim her son on Romano’s income tax returns since she is raising the boy. She reasoned that the deduction should be enough to cover the amount she owes her mother.

Police charged Cardwell with four counts of forgery, eight counts of theft and four counts of receiving stolen property, all felonies. She was arraigned Thursday night by District Judge James Narlesky, who set bail at $25,000 with a 10 percent cash option.

Police, meanwhile, charged Barnes with four counts each of theft, conspiracy and receiving stolen property. He too was arraigned Thursday night with bail set at $25,000 straight. Both were sent to Northampton County Prison after failing to post bail.

Narlesky also arraigned Barnes, of Plainfield Drive in Plainfield Drive, on unrelated theft and receiving stolen property charges for allegedly stealing jewelry from his mother.
Judy Barnes reported to Slate Belt Regional Police that she discovered on Tuesday that five pieces of jewelry worth an estimated $1,400 were missing. When she confronted her son about the missing jewelry, the 28-year-old allegedly admitted to stealing it and pawning it.