HOOD RIVER, Ore. – Cynthia Cannarile wanted to make her mother’s dream come true.
“She had always dreamed of going to Ireland,” Cannarile said.
So she went to Cascade Travel in Hood River to book a trip through the owner and her high school friend Sue Collins. They walked away with a document showing the tickets were confirmed for Cannarile, her mother, her sister and her niece.
But as the date drew closer for their trip, Cannarile said no flight itinerary ever arrived at her home. She said they kept getting the runaround from Collins until the day before they were planning to leave.
“We sat in her office and told her we are not leaving until she gave us a confirmation number and showed us that she had paid for those tickets,” Cannarile said.
They went to Ireland as planned, but a death in the family required the women cut the trip short. Cannarile said they bought trip insurance from Cascade Travel, which would pay for rearranging their flights if needed.
“We went to see about using that insurance, and we found out we had no insurance,” Cannarile said.
The family was stuck in Ireland for the remainder of their scheduled vacation.
Hood River Police Detective Don Cheli says they aren’t the only ones who’ve had problems with trips booked through Cascade Travel. He’s been investigating Sue Collins for months.
“She’s denied pocketing the money, but we’re having a hard time figuring out where the money is going,” Cheli said.
The cases include about 50 customers, according to Cheli, who’ve had problems with their trips ranging from no tickets at all, to no return flights or a hotel that was different than the one promised.
“She’s been telling me ‘these things happen, it’s an accident,’” said Cheli. “But unfortunately they happen a lot.”
Hood River Police suspect there are more people who have lost money after booking trips through Collins and Cascade Travel. They want to hear from anyone who believes they are a victim.
Collins declined to be interviewed on camera and refused to talk with KATU News about the police investigation.
Cheli says police are having a hard time filing charges against Collins because she often pays disgruntled customers back or books their trips correctly at the last minute when confronted.
Cannarile and her relatives, however, are pushing forward. Police filed four counts of theft against Collins for the trip insurance that Cannarile paid for, but never got.
Collins appeared in court on Monday.
“I want her to stop,” said Cannarile. “I don’t know why she’s doing this.”