The transsexual widow of a Wharton firefighter killed in the line of duty is facing a criminal charge.
Nikki Araguz was charged with felony theft in April. However, police said they could not find her to serve an arrest warrant.
A Houston Police Department investigator tracked down Araguz in California and told her over the phone that she needed to come back to Houston to answer the charge.
Araguz turned herself in last week and posted a $2,000 bond. She denies stealing a Rolex watch from a League City woman.
According to court documents, Araguz met a woman at a southwest Houston bar in February and drugged her. The woman woke up the next morning and discovered that her Rolex watch had been replaced with a different watch, the documents showed.
"(The victim) woke up the next morning and found that her Rolex watch had been swapped out for a Swatch watch," said Donna Hawkins with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
The woman said the Rolex, valued at $2,850, also had significant sentimental value to her. It had belonged to her sister, who has passed away.
Court documents showed that a witness reported finding an entry on Araguz's Facebook page that stated she had gotten a Rolex watch from an unidentified man. The witnesses told detectives that she confronted Araguz about the watch and she admitted she had the woman's missing watch, but she claimed they had willingly traded watches.
Investigators said Araguz took the Rolex watch to a pawn shop in northwest Houston on March 1 and a clerk offered to pay $700 for it. Araguz declined the officer, according to court documents.
According to police, the Rolex watch with a diamond bezel is worth $2,800.
Investigators said Araguz has been charged with stealing before. Since 1992, Araguz has served time or received probation on four theft charges, including when she was a man named Justin Purdue. Three of the theft charges were misdemeanors.
If convicted of the current theft charge, Araguz faces up to two years in prison. She is due in court on June 2.
Araguz and her attorney were not available for comment Wednesday.
Araguz's husband, Thomas, was a firefighter with the Wharton County Volunteer Fire Department. He died fighting a fire at Maxim Egg Farm in Boling, Texas, in July 2010.
Thomas Araguz's family took Nikki Araguz to court over his death benefits. They claimed the marriage was not valid because Nikki Araguz was born a man. On Tuesday, a judge agreed with the family.
Nikki Araguz confirmed she's "a post-op transsexual" and is HIV-positive. She had sexual reassignment surgery in 2008. Her birth name was Justin Graham Pardue.