Kemah Boardwalk employee accused of theft

September 13, 2010 5:06:05 PM PDT
A couple of visitors to the family-friendly Kemah Boardwalk learned a tough lesson. They warn that if you go on a ride, hold on tight to what's in your pocket. The victim lost his cell phone while on a ride on the Kemah Boardwalk. The device reappeared a day later, but not where you'd expect. This all led to the arrest and firing of a Kemah Boardwalk employee.

It all started after a ride on the Boardwalk Bullet roller coaster. The victim lost an expensive cell phone when it fell out of his pocket. The day after the phone was lost, it was found -- for sale on Craigslist.

The Boardwalk Bullet offers a lot of thrills to Kemah Boardwalk guests. It also causes some people to lose their property while on the ride. Erica Martinez says her husband's HTC smart cell phone got lost on the ride recently.

Martinez says her husband reported the lost cell phone to the Kemah Boardwalk lost and found. The next day it was found for sale online.

"Next day he goes to work and was on Craigslist, and come to find out, he sees a phone just like his in Seabrook being on there for sale," Martinez explained.

Martinez says her husband had friends contact Chelsey Aslin McKinnis, who allegedly was listing the phone for sale. Believing it was his phone, Martinez's husband agreed to buy the phone back. But before the meeting, Martinez stopped by the Kemah Police Department.

Kemah Police Department Assistant Chief Greg Rikard said, "When he went to meet the Boardwalk employee, we had an officer standing by where the exchange took place."

Rikard says an officer went along to observe the phone sale in the Kemah Boardwalk parking lot.

"She initially lied, and first stated that the phone had been turned in and it was over two weeks old, and there was an unwritten policy by the employees. " Rikard explained. "They would take the property after two weeks if it hadn't been claimed and then do whatever they wanted to do with it."

When police said the phone was only lost a single day, McKinnis allegedly volunteered to return the cell phone free of charge.

"We ended up charging her with a Class B misdemeanor theft of $50 to $500, because the phone was valued at about $400," Rikard said.

Police say they arrested McKinnis and she has been fired from Kemah Boardwalk.

Kemah Boardwalk officials offered the following statement:

    "This was an isolated incident and the Kemah Boardwalk has taken appropriate measures to ensure the continued safety of our visitors, including a thorough investigation and the termination of the employee. Any further questions regarding this subject should be referred to the Kemah Police Department." -- Keith Beitler, Sr. Vice President/Chief Operating Officer

Kemah Boardwalk officials haven't yet clarified the official lost and found policy, but they say took appropriate action and call this an isolated incident.


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