Once an employee of the community grocery store, suspect Kayla Carter plead guilty to aiding in the theft of Stewart’s Market in Castle Dale .
The twenty-five-year-old appeared before Judge George Harmond Tuesday morning in Emery County Seventh District Court, and plead guilty to aiding and assisting in theft a second-degree felony. She has agreed she opened the door and provided the safe code to the other parties involved who then proceeded to take over $13,000 in cash and merchandise from the location. Under her guilty plea, the second charge, aiding and assisting in burglary, was dropped on grounds of prejudice.
On the morning of October 9, employees discovered a door to the building was unlocked when they arrived for their shift. Upon further investigation, the employees found the grocery store safe had been wiped clean. After an inventory of goods was taken, and further investigation of the scene was conducted, it was discovered that cash, stamps, and 16 cartons of cigarettes had been stolen. The grand total of stolen items amounted to $13,991.82.
The Emery County Sheriff’s department said there were no obvious signs of forced entry, leading them to believe the act was committed by someone who had a store key in their possession. When a locksmith inspected the safe, he reported the safe also did not show signs of forced entry, meaning the perpetrator(s) used the code. With this new information possible suspects were narrowed down to six, and after questioning, person-of-interest Kayla Carter captured the attention of investigators.
вЂњSome of her (Carter) story just didnвЂ™t make sense,вЂќ Emery County Detective Garrett Conover said. вЂњHer behavior and her statements led us to believe she was involved.вЂќ
After further questioning and community assistance two more suspects were revealed. They included a 17-year-old male subject nand 27-year-old Ronald Tyler Firm. Firm and the juvenile gave full confessions regarding their involvement, stating they spent the money to support a drug habit. During CarterвЂ™s questioning, she stated her involvement in the crime was opening the door and giving out the safe code. Carter denied taking anything from the store personally. Firm and the juvenile have both been charged with burglary, a third degree felony, theft, a second degree felony, and criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor.
Firm was sentenced Tuesday, originally facing up to five years in prison for each count. Firm was instead sentenced to serve eight months in the Emery County Jail, successfully complete an intensive outpatient program, and contact his probation officer within 48 hours after his release. Firm was ordered to pay $15,936 in restitution to Sterwart’s Market and is banned from ever setting foot inside the location. Firm was also ordered never to have contact with Kayla Carter.
Carter will be sentenced on May 7, at 9a.m. and faces up to five years in the Utah State Prison.