I would still press charges for theft, employee theft? AS well as small claims court.. Once she does not show up, or skipped town, there is at least a judgement and/or a warrant which will either deter her from being in the state, or may cause her to get picked up at a later date.
It's the police department's job to take a report for any stolen goods, regardless of their value. The value of the stolen goods determines if it is a felony or misdemeanor. You don't need proof of who stole your stuff, that's the police department's job. You can certainly tell them that the suspect (former WS) was bragging on the internet that she "pulled one over" on you and provide evidence of that.
I would definitely file a police report on this petty criminal. As for small claims court to recover the show fees, that would be difficult to recover unless you have an written contract with the working student stipulating that she was responsible for one half of the fees. Absent that, I think you are SOL as it essentially would be a case of "she said she said". Given the value of what you would be suing her for (a couple hundred dollars?) not worth it IMO.
Update: Boy, this forum sure is a primer on how to use social media effectively. I sent the WS an invoice. She came back agreeing to pay the original 1/2 she promised to prior to the show (and one of the bridles turned up in an unexpected place - but it's back). It's not much, but a bit of a moral victory.
I still deeply resent that I am essentially paying for her camping trip, but this is a far less expensive lesson that originally!
It is my understanding that she has seen this thread and was deeply upset by it - hence offering to pay part.
Thank you all for your invaluable support & advice! If more comes up, I will post.
IN the meantime - my big take-away is to GET REFERENCES!
"Socrates was a very wise man who went around giving good advice. They poisoned him." Anonymous...
Former Long Islander now in the middle of the Great Lakes
I am sure what she was "upset " about was the potential for a police report being filed against her and even perhaps a visit from a police officer and a possible judgement against her . While references are important, a written contract is essential in this day and age. Congrats on resolving at least part of this situation.