LEMOORE, CA --A police sergeant in Lemoore, California, hopes to connect his recent case to others in the area, after he says he caught two people in the act of an unlikely crime.
Sgt. Alvaro Santos was watching the 7-Eleven from his patrol car across the street when he noticed unusual activity. He didn't know if it would turn out to be nothing or if it was an armed robbery in progress. So after the woman got out of the SUV and walked to the 7-Eleven, Santos went to speak with the driver of the car-- which was parked behind the convenience store, with its lights off. He also called for back-up.
The other officer who arrived spoke with the woman inside 7-Eleven, and eventually arrested Kelly Marie Davies for being under the influence of a controlled substance. During a search, police found $680 in $20's, $10's, $5's, and $1's. Police say it was money from the 7-Eleven registers, but it wasn't a typical robbery. "We discovered that there was somebody calling into the business pretending to be from their corporate office and pretty much tricked the cashier into turning all their money over to this female," Santos said.
The store clerk says she was on the phone with the man for nearly two hours. He asked her to count the cash in the registers, put it in a bag, and be prepared to give it to a woman who was coming by to pick it up. "Her name is Kathy and she's going to be coming here with two officers and just give her the money she's going to ask for three items and I'm not supposed to know what it is," the clerk said.
The woman asked for three cartons of cigarettes, then got an iced coffee before being approached by the officer, who the clerk thought was part of the store audit-- it was actually a Lemoore police officer.
The clerk is glad they arrested Davies and her driver, Daniel Avila for burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime, and being under the influence of a controlled substance. She's also relieved the $680 was recovered. "I don't know if I would have lost my job you know or I'd have to pay that back," the clerk said.
"It seemed that this is not their first time doing this obviously, and there were other items in the car that indicated this has been going on, so if there are more businesses out there, we would like to know about it," Santos said.
Lemoore Police say they're working with Hanford Police about a very similar and recent burglary at the 99 Cents Only store there.