Store employee charged with theft for Jan. 2 inside job robbery
By BRIAN BECKLEY
Bonney Lake-Sumner Courier-Herald Reporter
February 18, 2011 · Updated 3:43 PM
Pierce County Prosecutors have charged a Puyallup woman for allegedly stealing more than $3,400 from O'Reilly Auto Parts in Bonney Lake, where she was employed.
Bonnie C. Johnson was charged Feb. 15 with one count of second-degree theft and one count of second-degree burglary.
The charges stem from a Jan. 2 second incident in which Bonney Lake Police were dispatched to the auto parts store on 214th Avenue East at approxmiately 4:50 a.m. Dispatch also advised a subscriber, Johnson, would be arrivinf within 15 minutes.
When police arrive don the scene, they saw Johnson's vehicle driving slowly near the rear of the building. After checking that the building doors were locked and secured, officers contacted Johnson in her vehicle.
Police advised it was most likely a false alarm as there was no damage or signs of forced entry to the building. Johnson, who was "shaking terribly" and "almost stuttering as she spoke" asked the officers to check inside and gave police the key to the rear door.
The officers noted her behavior as unusual.
"I found this to be very odd as I have never encountered a subscriber who appeared to be so terrified or nervous when responding to the business for an alarm," the officer wrote in the police report.
Police checked the building and found nothing out of place or disturbed. Ehen they reported their findings to Johnson she asked if they would go in with her so she could check.
Johnson deactivated the alarm and then gasped as she pointed to the safe, located at the rear of the store. Johnson told the officers that the handle would be straight down if it was locked and police noted it was close to vertical, but when they checked it was unsecure.
Everything in the safe appeared orderly, but Johnson told police the daily deposits appeared to be missing from the second shelf.
The officer again noted it was odd that someone would take the deposits but leave a bag of cash, which was also in the safe.
Police later determined $3,472 had been taken from the safe.
Police then noted a security camera pointed at the safe and asked if it captured the incident. When Johnson went over to the VCR and pressed eject, nothing came out. Police noted the VCR was in a locking metal box and the lock was in the open position, though there was no damage.
"At this time it became apparent whomever was involved in the incident was someone (who) had keys to the building, knew the safe combination and had a key to the security system," the officer noted.
The officer then exited the building and noted there was frost on the metal parts of Johnson's car, but not her windows, indicating she had been driving it longer than it would have taken her to get to the store.
The officer asked Johnson about the time she received the call from the alarm company and her phone indicated it came at 4:40 a.m. Johnson said she was sleeping when the call came in and it went to voicemail and the officer confirmed with her that she had been awakened by the voicemail indicator.
Asked how she got tot he business so quickly, she said she "had green lights the whole way."
As police confronted her about the incident, Johnson began to shake and stutter again and the officer noted it "appeared to me Johnson was not being honest with me about the incident."
When police asked if they could search her car to eliminate her as a suspect and Johnson declined, but said there was nothing in her vehicle.
Johnson was read her rights and placed un-handcuffed in an officer's car to stay warm while the police discussed what to do next.
On jan. 10, Bonney Lake police received a warrant for search and seizure of Johnson's cell phone. Records from the phone company were obtained Feb. 4 and police noted three calls between the hours of 4:40 and 4:47 a.m. Jan.2, the morning of the robbery. Police checked the global positioning system coordinates on the phone at the time of the call and determined that Johnson was in the area of the 19200 block of state Route 410 when the first call from the alarm company came and the 16600 block of SR410 when the second call came and not at home in Puyallup, as she told police.
On Feb. 9, Bonney Lake police officers contacted Johnson at the store and arrested her. She was transported to Pierce County Jail and booked on charges of second-degree burglary and second-degree theft.Contact Bonney Lake-Sumner Courier-Herald Reporter Brian Beckley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-825-2555 ext. 5058.