Jacksonville Fla Jan 30 2012 Two Northeast Florida women were charged last week in separate employee theft cases and both appear to be fighting uphill battles – at least by what police have released so far.
Betty Barnes, a 78-year-old wheelchair-bound Jacksonville church employee, was charged with stealing $167,000 from the church over several years by inflating her own paychecks and cashing voided checks, according to the Florida Times-Union.
The newspaper also reported Jaclyn Brown, a 21-year-old Jacksonville woman was charged with stealing more than $26,000 worth of jewelry from the Clay County jewelry store where she worked.
In both Jacksonville criminal cases, the employers appear to have detailed documentation of the alleged thefts occurring over a period of time – years for Barnes and weeks for Brown.
In many cases of employee theft, businesses notice the missing goods or money as a part of a pattern of things coming up short. Once employers suspect something, they often lay in wait to see if it happens again, getting enough evidence to terminate the employee and, if needed, take the case to the police. And, in cases where workers have been convicted, it is typically a systemic theft – not a one-shot deal.
Police told the newspaper Brown confessed to stealing the items, but none of the news reports have documented Barnes saying anything about her charges.