Court roundup: Kennewick salon manager accused of taking cash

The manager of a Kennewick hair salon is accused of pocketing more than $19,500 in cash and checks instead of depositing it in the business account.

Tamara Elayne Wertman, 45, pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree theft and cocaine possession.

The theft charge includes allegations of aggravated circumstances for being a major economic offense and using a position of trust.

The Kennewick woman is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 31.

Wertman was employed at Great Clips, 3911 W. 27th Ave., when the theft allegedly happened between November 2009 and Aug. 9 of this year. As manager, she was responsible for depositing the cash and check payments to the salon.

At some point, the general manager and owner realized that a number of deposits had failed to make it to the bank, and believed Wertman took them, court documents said. An investigation revealed that 67 deposits totaling $19,508 were missing.

Kennewick police served a search warrant on Wertman, her home, car and the business, and found a number of missing deposit slips and checks inside the home and car, documents said.

Officers also allegedly seized cocaine in the search.

Wertman in her interview with police admitted to stealing the deposits, but "claimed to not know when they were stolen or how much she took," wrote Deputy Prosecutor Kristin McRoberts in the court documents.

Wertman is being held on $5,000 bail in the Benton County jail. Her husband, James Patrick Wertman, also is jailed on suspicion of possessing cocaine.

Benton City man set for trial on robbery charge

A 19-year-old man is set for trial Oct. 3 on allegations he threatened to kill an acquaintance and punched the man in the face because he wouldn't hand over his car keys.

Saul G. Madrigal of Benton City pleaded innocent to first-degree attempted robbery. He is in jail on $15,000 bail.

According to court documents, Travis Durfee of Benton City was at the Conoco gas station Aug. 4 when Madrigal approached him and asked to borrow his vehicle. Madrigal also asked to see the car keys.

Durfee told him no, adding that "his mother would get mad about it" if he let Madrigal drive the vehicle, documents said.

Madrigal allegedly then "threatened to kill Mr. Durfee and stated that he knew where Mr. Durfee lived." He punched Durfee in the face and left, McRoberts wrote in court documents.

Walmart cashier admits to taking about $2,300

A Walmart cashier admitted to taking $2,300 from her register during two months to help pay her personal bills.

Emma Lin Davis, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree theft. She was sentenced to a month in jail.

Court documents show the thefts happened between June 13 and July 11, though Davis told Richland police she started taking cash in May.

Davis of Burbank was a cashier at the Duportail Street store. She was caught on video removing money from the register and placing it in her pocket in between transactions with customers, court documents said.

She told officers that she needed money to pay bills, documents said.

Davis must report to jail by Wednesday to begin her sentence. She also must pay $2,300 in restitution.