By Caleb Hutton
FERNDALE — An employee at the Ferndale O’Reilly Auto Parts has been charged with stealing money and merchandise from his former employer.
Joe Manuel Rodriguez, 22, is accused of running a scheme where he would scan items as returns, then take both the refund and the item for himself, according to charges filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.
A loss prevention officer found 23 false reports, totaling $936.01 in stolen refund cash. Rodriguez admitted he had the items at his home, according to the charges.
Police recovered stolen tool sets, mirrors, portable tire inflators, gloves and a camera set from Rodriguez’s apartment — all small stuff, but it added up to more than $600 in physical merchandise, said Ferndale Police Lt. Matt Huffman.
Rodriguez, who lives in Lynden, was charged last week with theft in the second degree.