A 19-year-old Pasco man is accused of stealing about $1,800 in merchandise while working at Best Buy to help cover his personal bills.
Noe Gutierrez pleaded innocent Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court to second-degree theft.
According to court documents, Gutierrez was employed at the Kennewick electronic and appliance store between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15 when the theft occurred.
Kennewick police Officer Joshua Sullivan responded to the store Feb. 15 for an employee theft report and met with a Best Buy asset protection manager. Sullivan was told the store recently discovered that Gutierrez had taken merchandise on several occasions, documents said.
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An internal investigation placed the value of the stolen goods at about $1,800.
In an interview with Sullivan, Gutierrez admitted taking 16 items while on the job between November and Feb. 6.
Gutierrez said he sold most of the items on Craigslist to help pay bills, court documents stated.
His trial is scheduled June 4.
Richland man pleads innocent to selling flute reported stolen
A Richland man pleaded innocent to allegations that in January he sold a flute to a music store, just days after it was reported taken during a burglary at a Catholic church.
Ronald A. Baugher, 39, was arrested six weeks later and reportedly was caught with a small baggie of methamphetamine in a pants pocket.
He faces trial May 7 for first-degree trafficking in stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.
Prosecutors allege that on Jan. 24, Baugher went to Music Unlimited in Richland and sold a flute for $75.
It was discovered that the musical instrument was one of the items reported missing after the Parish of the Holy Spirit on Clearwater Avenue was burglarized Jan. 21.
Baugher was identified as the person who sold the stolen flute, court documents said. Kennewick officers located Baugher on March 8 and arrested him.
Baugher told officers "that he did not know anything about the burglary at the church, but admitted to selling the flute" and to getting it from a person who told him it had been stolen, documents said.
Baugher has felony convictions for third-degree assault, residential burglary, intimidating a public servant, resisting arrest, first-degree possession of stolen property and third-degree escape, the court learned Wednesday.
Judge Craig Matheson ordered that he remain in the Benton County jail on $10,000 bail.
Kennewick man gets 2 1/2 years for burglary
A 31-year-old man will spend almost 2 1/2 years in prison for breaking into a Richland storage unit.
Travis Floyd Richardson of Kennewick pleaded guilty Jan. 11 to second-degree burglary.
A Richland officer saw a car turn into the Aaron Drive storage units Oct. 7 and learned the registered owner of the car had a suspended driver's license.
The officer found Richardson and Ricci L. Vogel moving tools and other items inside one unit and loading the items into their car, according to police and court documents. The officer reportedly was looking for Vogel's son, who had several warrants out for his arrest.
Richardson claimed the car belonged to a relative, and the pair immediately stopped loading and quickly left, documents stated.
The officer then ran a check on Richardson and found he had an outstanding felony warrant and reportedly was wanted for questioning in connection to some Kennewick storage unit burglaries.
Later that day, the storage unit's owner called police to say valuables worth $828 were missing. The officer who had responded to the storage complex earlier reported seeing those same items in the car being loaded by Richardson and Vogel.
Richardson was arrested the next week.
Richardson's criminal history includes eluding police, second-degree burglary, possession of a controlled substance, residential burglary, second-degree theft, three convictions for taking a vehicle without permission and four for forgery. The crimes date to 1997.
He was ordered to prison Wednesday under the Special Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative, which means he should get treatment for his drug addiction while serving a shorter prison term of 29.75 months.
Vogel pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in January and received jail time.