Police said they were alerted by a manager at the Goodwill store located at 6110 N. Keystone Ave. The manager said security video had captured 62-year-old Ronald Kemp taking a $283.00 necklace out of a purse and putting it in his pocket.
The necklace was actually part of a sting operation conducted by loss prevention officers who had become suspicious that an employee was stealing donations.
Suspicions were aroused after records indicated that the Keystone Avenue store was a top leader in overall donations, but last in donated jewelry. Officers planted the necklace to see if any employee would take it after it was processed.
When police confronted Kemp about keeping the necklace, they said he admitted to the theft. They said he also admitted to stealing other jewelry in the past. Kemp had worked at the store for about two years.
It is not known how much donated jewelry he may have stolen during his time as a Goodwill employee.
Goodwill spokeswoman Cindy Graham called the theft a betrayal of trust.
“People give us things because they trust that we’re going to generate revenue from that to support our mission,” Graham said. “If something bad occurs, we’re going to take steps to make sure that is not a part of our supply chain.”
Graham said the case was also frustrating because Goodwill has a reputation for employing people who may have had prior run-ins with the law and who need a second chance. Police records indicate Kemp had previous arrests for Criminal Recklessness and Battery.
“Yeah, it’s pretty frustrating,” Graham said.
Kemp was arrested at the Goodwill store on May 7 and booked into the Marion County jail. He faces preliminary charges of Theft and Receiving Stolen Property.