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Store employee sentenced in theft

November 03, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

A conspiracy theory raised by an employee accused of theft failed to convince a Washington County Circuit Court jury Monday.

After 20 minutes of deliberations, the jury found Dawn Malissa Bricker of Hagerstown guilty of one count of felony theft and one credit card offense, court records said.

Bricker, 27, of 40 S. Cannon Ave., was sentenced by Judge Frederick Wright to four years on each count, concurrent to each other. He then suspended the entire sentence, court records said.

The judge placed Bricker on probation for four years and ordered her to make restitution of $2,105.15 to King's Jewelry Store at Prime Outlets within 10 months.

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Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes called several witnesses who testified about Bricker's actions on the day of the theft in December.

The sounds of Bricker ringing up a sale on the store's cash register when co-workers said no customer was present were key to the convictions.

The state contended Bricker was using a customer's credit card number to purchase more than $2,000 in jewelry.

The defense case hinged on credit card records that showed the victim/owner of the credit card was herself making a purchase with her actual card at a Caldor store in Baltimore on Dec. 27 - just three seconds later than the time the credit card number was manually entered into the Hagerstown store's computer.

Defense attorney Martin Palmer, who had wanted to call a mathematical probability expert to testify on the chances of that happening, was unable to convince Wright that would aid the jury.

The incident came to light when the store manager told police she got a call from a Baltimore woman who reported a $2,105.15 charge on her credit card for a purchase made Dec. 27 at the Hagerstown store.

The woman said she didn't make the purchase nor was she in Hagerstown that day. Her only transaction at the store had been on Dec. 11 when she used the same credit card used to make the fraudulent purchases later, police reports said.

An investigation revealed that the Dec. 27 purchase in Hagerstown had been made manually, not by scanning the card's magnetic strip, police reports said.

The receipt from the victim's Dec. 11 purchase was kept in the store office and was accessible to employees, according to police reports.

In his investigation, Trooper1st Class Michael Kretzer learned that the victim had never relinquished possession of her card and didn't have a duplicate card.

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