Wharton: Transgender widow of firefighter accused of stealing woman's Rolex

Wharton: Transgender widow of firefighter accused of stealing woman's Rolex

Credit: HCSO

Nikki Araguz's mugshot

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by Kevin Reece / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 25, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Updated Thursday, May 26 at 10:49 AM

WHARTON, Texas -- While waiting for a Wharton County judge to rule on the validity of her marriage to a Wharton County firefighter, transgender widow Nikki Araguz was arrested and posted bond last week on an unrelated felony charge of theft.

According to court documents filed by the Harris County District Attorney’s office, Araguz posted $2,000 bond May 18. The allegations date back to February when a woman claims she was "drugged" shortly after meeting Araguz and another woman, and that when she woke up, her expensive Rolex watch was gone. The watch is valued at $2,850.

Prosecutors say Araguz denied being involved in theft. But the employee of a Houston pawn shop testified that on March 1, Araguz came into his store trying to pawn a Rolex watch.

A court appearance on the theft allegation is scheduled for next month.

Meanwhile, the judge on Tuesday ruled that because Araguz was born a man, her marriage to firefighter Thomas Araguz was not valid, and she is not eligible for $600,000 in death benefits.

Araguz has been fighting with the firefighter's family over the benefits ever since his death in a blaze at a local egg farm last year.

Thomas Araguz's family argued that the money should go to the two children he had with his ex-wife.

Even though the judge made a ruling, the court battle could drag on for some time.

According to attorneys, it’s likely that the $600,000 in benefits won’t be released until the appeals process is over, and that could take another year.

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