Rue 21 assistant manager arrested for theft scheme

Photo taken in 2017 by Stan Morris

JONESBORO, Ark. – A young woman is accused of felony theft after allegedly returning items to the store she worked at without ever having bought them.

The Jonesboro Police Department incident report begins on Thursday evening, when Officer Keith Baggett was dispatched to The Mall at Turtle Creek, 3000 East Highland Drive, to investigate a referenced theft by a store employee. Baggett spoke with District Manager Grace Pry who said she was investigating a series of merchandise thefts from the store. Pry said during her own investigation, she determined a store assistant manager, Calia Leeshell Crippen, 18, of Jonesboro, had been taking merchandise from the store and then returning some of it for cash, using her position to help accomplish this. 

Pry sat Crippen down for an interview Thursday and also had the regional manager for loss prevention on the phone while the interview was conducted. During the interview, the suspect was presented with evidence showing the theft and she freely admitted what she had been doing, the report said. The suspect wrote a 2 page statement admitting to the thefts and stated that she began on July 16, 2017. Over a period of weeks between July 16 and August 8, she completed 19 illegal returns for cash in the amount of $1,202.64. She also admitted to taking and keeping approximately $1,603.93 in merchandise.

As Baggett reported, she explained her actions by saying that she is preparing for college and that she didn’t have any financial help. She wrote that she still had all of the money from the exchanges as well as each clothing item she took and would return everything to the store.

The company wished to press charges, Pry said, and Crippen was arrested for felony theft greater than $1000 but less than $5000.  Probable cause was found by Judge David Boling on August 17 to charge her with felony theft. She is due in court at 8:30 a.m. on September 29.

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