Auto parts store employee may have stolen thousands in cash and inventory

Police in Bonney Lake arrested a former employee at Bonney Lake Auto Parts after the owner began noticing inventory missing and the employee’s till routinely coming up short.

According to a police report, officers were dispatched to the store on 182nd Avenue East April 17 to investigate a theft believed to have been committed by an employee.

The owner told police he suspected the former employee had been stealing thousands of dollars in merchandise for some time, but he was unable to prove it.

But on April 14, the owner witnessed the employee complete a transaction then delete a merchandise item he had entered into the computer earlier. Later, the owner noticed the employee’s till was short in the exact amount of the item that had been deleted.

The owner suspects the employee had been taking money from the till and deleting the items in an attempt to make the till even out at day’s end, but the result was missing inventory.

The owner suspected the employee had been doing this on a regular basis. According to the owner, the missing inventory appeared consistently on days the suspected employee worked and the till was consistently short on days the employee worked by himself.

When the owner confronted the employee on April 15, he did not deny anything, instead hanging his head and apologizing, according to the police report.

The employee was fired on the spot and asked to leave the store.

The next day, the owner was reviewing packing slips and noticed a car battery was missing. When he contacted the store’s battery representative, he was told the battery was delivered April 13 and the suspected employee had the battery, valued at $90, delivered directly to his personal vehicle, explaining he could get a better deal if he billed it to the store and paid for it from his employee account. But the employee never reported the purchase from his account, nor did he mention it when he was fired.

Police confirmed the information with the battery representative.

Officers made contact with the former employee at his home on 120th Street Court East and he immediately said he had the battery and placed it into another car on his property. He told police he forgot to put the battery on his employee account and denied all of the other allegations made by the owner of the store.

The former employee removed the battery, which was still wrapped in plastic, from the vehicle and it was returned to the store owner.

The employee was cited and released for theft