Two more individuals have been charged in a theft ring that involved fraudulent returns at JCPenney in Farmington.
Braiden Wilson, 18, of Bismarck, was charged in late May with a class D felony of stealing. Since then, Kayla Usher, 17, of Farmington, and Amanda Yeager, 18 of Bismarck, have both been charged with a class D felony of stealing related to the same investigation.
According to a probable cause statement, on April 24 officers from the Farmington Police Department were called to JCPenney, located at 734 Market St., in reference to a theft. When the initial officer arrived he spoke with an employee who stated several employees had been stealing from the business.
Three of the suspect employees were working at the time and were identified as Wilson, Usher and Yeager. The reporting employee was speaking with Usher when the officer arrived. The officer began by interviewing Usher in a room at the store.
After being informed of her Miranda rights she agreed to talk with the officer regarding the thefts. According to the statement, Usher said she made multiple false returns and placed the credited amounts on gift cards while she was operating the register.
She indicated this began about three weeks earlier and said she was coerced into committing the thefts by Wilson, who threatened to fabricate a story about her selling marijuana. Usher stole $2,481.41 on seven fraudulent returns according to the store employee’s calculations.
Usher admitted to still having three of the gift cards and relinquished the one she had in her possession, which had a remaining balance of $248.48. Usher said she would surrender the other two gift cards which were at her home as well.
She further reportedly stated that Wilson had most of the fraudulent gift cards she had created, but she was unsure if he had used them or still had them in his possession.
Wilson was also arrested and informed of his rights. He reportedly admitted to the officer to making the fraudulent returns and said he felt justified in committing the thefts due to poor treatment from the store’s management. According to store records, Wilson stole $2,101.96 on seven fraudulent returns.
According to another statement, Yeager was questioned and admitted to making several fraudulent transactions as well.
According to the store records, Yeager stole $1,631.62 on six transactions. She said she learned how to commit the false transactions from another employee, but refused to tell police that person’s name.
All three were eventually taken into custody and booked into the county jail on a bond of $5,000 each. All posted bond and were released pending court proceedings.
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org