Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 4, 2013

Police: Walmart worker helps friends steal

TRAVERSE CITY — A Walmart employee helped two friends walk off from the retailer without paying for a computer, clothing and hundreds of dollars worth of groceries, among other items, authorities said.

Walmart surveillance equipment recorded Alexandra Rice, 19, of Benzonia, shopping at the Garfield Township store with Rey Verstrat and Bethany Klomparens, both 18, on Jan. 29, local court records state. The three friends filled two shopping carts with items before Rice started a shift on a cash register.

Verstrat and Klomparens walked through Rice’s checkout line and paid for “very few” of the items in the carts, Grand Traverse County sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Marrow said.

Verstrat and Klomparens returned to Walmart later and heisted more merchandise in the same manner. Stolen goods included cosmetics, a computer, radio speakers, clothing and $400-$500 worth of groceries.

All told, the loot was valued at about $3,000, Marrow said.

Walmart security employees reviewed surveillance footage and contacted the sheriff’s department on Jan. 31.

Deputies arrested Rice that day and charged her with a felony count of embezzlement between $1,000 and $20,000, and a count of conspiracy. She is next due in court for a preliminary exam on Feb. 15.

Rice could not be reached for comment.

Arrest warrants and criminal charges could be filed against Verstrat, of Beulah, and Klomparens, of Holland, Marrow said.

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