Bailey Boswell and Aubrey Trail, whom investigators have called persons of interest in the disappearance and death of Sydney Loofe, pleaded not guilty Thursday in a stolen goods case, the most recent in a string of allegations against them from across the country.
At separate hearings that each lasted less than 5 minutes, Boswell, 23, and Trail, 51, wore shackles and orange jail clothes before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Zwart in U.S. District Court in Lincoln.
A federal prosecutor told them they'd been indicted for interstate transportation of stolen goods and faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if they're convicted.
Zwart set a three-day trial for them both in February.
An FBI spokesman has declined to give details about the allegations. A complaint said they brought the stolen goods valued at $5,000 or more from Hiawatha, Kansas, to Beatrice on or about Oct. 20.
They haven't been charged in connection with Loofe's death yet, but after Trail's hearing, his court-appointed attorney, Korey Reiman, said he anticipates charges could come within the next few weeks.
Loofe, 24, was reported missing in Lincoln on Nov. 16. She was last seen Nov. 15 in Wilber, where she went with Boswell after meeting on the dating app Tinder.
Loofe's body was found in rural Clay County on Dec. 4.
Police have said Boswell and Trail are two of the last people to have seen Loofe alive.
In social media videos, the pair denied involvement in Loofe's disappearance.
Trail confirmed in a recent letter to the Journal Star that he has been speaking with investigators.
"I have made it clear that I can only answer questions about me and what I know," Trail wrote. "I have made it very clear that Bailey Boswell had nothing to do with the death of Sydney Loofe."
Trail, in his letter, did not address what, if anything, he knows about Loofe's death.
Thursday, an FBI spokesman said an autopsy has been completed and confirmed the body found was Loofe's, but investigators are awaiting further testing before describing the cause and manner of her death.
Lincoln's police chief has said foul play is suspected.
Ten days after the body was found, investigators haven't said anything about how they think Loofe's remains got to Clay County or what they've learned about Trail and Boswell since they began looking for them publicly last month.
It's also unclear how Boswell, who was a star high school athlete in Iowa, met Trail or what brought them to the Wilber area, where they've lived in a downstairs apartment for the past several months.
In the videos they posted, they said they made more than $100,000 a year dealing antiques.
What seems clear from court records and police reports is that their dealings have raised eyebrows from Utah to Pennsylvania.
In June, a detective with the St. George (Utah) Police Department released photos that appear to be of Trail and Boswell. Police called the people in the pictures suspects in a theft from a coin dealer there, according to a national clearinghouse that gathers intelligence on crimes related to collectable coins and currency.
While one suspect distracted an employee, the other pocketed several coins worth thousands of dollars, according to a June 14 alert put out by the Numismatic Crime Information Center.
The man, who appears to be Trail, went by the name Allan and gave a phone number with a 402 area code.
"We do know that they were traveling," said Doug Davis, a former police chief in Texas who now runs the Numismatic Crime Information Center.
He said they were mostly hitting antique, pawn and coin shops. The same couple had been seen in Iowa and Tennessee.
By September, police in York County, Pennsylvania, had picked up Boswell for allegedly writing a bad check for $23,298 in antique coins at an April 22 auction. She was with a man who identified himself as Jeffrey Boswell, a Pennsylvania State Police trooper wrote in court documents.
Her check bounced, and an examination of Boswell's bank account showed only an initial deposit of $200, the trooper said.
Investigators also believe Boswell passed a bad check for more than $15,000 at an auction in Kansas in May, according to court documents.
They believe the man who was with her was Trail, and that the two are in a romantic relationship, a Pennsylvania State Police spokesman said.
Boswell posted a $7,500 bond in the Pennsylvania case and has pending charges there — her first felony, according to court records.
But Trail's criminal history spans several states, including Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri, where he has a history of convictions for passing bad checks — often at antique shops.
One of his last prison stints in Iowa stemmed from a transaction at the antique mall just across the river from Nebraska City.
Alicia Chrastil, owner of Finders Keepers Antique Mall, said she won't forget the day Trail came in on a Sunday in July 2010. He had been there several times but had finally decided on some sterling silver flatware, she said.
“Something just doesn’t add up with this guy,” Chrastil said recently when recalling that day.
Trail was overly pleasant, "creepy nice," she said.
He paid for the flatware with a check for $2,650, and left, but the check didn't clear, she said.
She reported it to the local sheriff's office, which discovered 20 days later that Trail had just gotten out of prison in Missouri for writing bad checks.
Authorities ultimately found Trail in Arkansas and brought him back to Missouri, where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Chrastil said Trail has paid just $155 of the $5,000 in restitution he owes her.
Lars Ostrom of Bargain John's Antiques in Lexington hasn't had a bad deal since his exchange with Trail in 2005, and he can't believe Trail's track record since he went to prison for stealing from him.
Trail came in on a November day, looked at an antique sideboard and bookcase, left and came back the next day, having decided to buy it.
He was calm, and they exchanged info about a piece Trail was selling that Ostrom had a buyer for, Ostrom said.
Trail wrote him a check for $5,500 and left.
When he didn't send photos of the piece Ostrom was curious about, Ostrom called the number Trail left. An ex-girlfriend answered the phone and said, "you're probably calling about that check that isn't good," according to Ostrom.
"I didn't know that I was getting myself into a mess that I was soon to find out about,” he said.
Authorities put a warrant out for Trail's arrest but didn't bring him to court in Dawson County until 2008.
He spent two years in prison and just resurfaced on Ostrom's radar this year when a local radio station broadcast news of Trail's connection to Loofe's disappearance.
"That name I’ll probably remember forever, for the bad," Ostrom said.