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Grand Junction Family Not Being Evicted 'On A Minor Shoplifting Charge,' Official Says

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The family from Grand Junction that told media they were facing eviction over a stolen pair of shoes is not facing eviction for the holidays and not strictly because of the shoplifting charge, according to an official.

“There’s no way we would evict someone based on a minor shoplifting charge,” Dan Whalen, executive director of an organization that manages the family's apartment, told The Daily Sentinel. “There are other circumstances involved with this.”

Whalen's organization, Housing Resources of Western Colorado, is a nonprofit provider of affordable housing in the Grand Junction area.

He disputes single mother Tanya Abbey's reasoning for why her family is being evicted but said that he cannot discuss the details citing confidentiality rules.

"Nevertheless, I can unequivocally state that under no circumstances will any tenant at this project be required to vacate prior to or during the upcoming holidays," Whalen said in a statement.

The family had previously told KJCT8 News that they believed they were being evicted after Abbey's 13-year-old son was caught shoplifting a pair of shoes from Kmart.

"My shoes were getting worn out, it was getting cold and my feet were getting cold," said Oran Abbey, explaining why he stole the shoes.

The family had been living in the Garden Village Apartments, a government-subsidized housing complex in Grand Junction, Colo.

In a statement to the news station -- who first broke the story -- the manager of the Garden Village Apartments said that shoplifting violated the family's lease agreement, saying that "Any criminal activity on or near the premises is grounds for immediate eviction."

KJCT8 News has since published a note at the top of their story saying that they stand by their reporting and that Abbey said that management told her that theft was grounds for eviction. They also say that Abbey had been late with her rent payment, but has since paid it and may have avoided eviction.

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