Arrests Expected in Moundsville Gas Station Theft

Photo by Drew Parker An employee of Smith Mart on First Street in Moundsville and three others are expected to be charged with stealing money from the business Tuesday, in what police say was falsely reported by the employee as an armed robbery.

Four people are expected to face charges after what began as an armed robbery report at a Moundsville gas station Tuesday morning turned out to be an inside job, police said.

Authorities are planning to charge a gas station employee, along with three others. At 11:02 a.m. Tuesday, the Moundsville Police Department responded to a reported armed robbery at Smith Mart on First Street with the help of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department and West Virginia State Police.

The original call came from a female employee at Smith Mart, who claimed an armed man wearing a mask threatened her near her vehicle and took her deposit bag, which contained more than $6,500 from the store. According to Sgt. Don DeWitt of the Moundsville Police Department, authorities spent hours searching the area surrounding the former Fostoria Glass near First Street and Grant Avenue for a suspect.

When officers spoke with three male suspects regarding the case, however, the men said they had collaborated with the female employee to take the money. Several local schools were placed on lockdown during the initial search.

“The report was that they were robbed at gunpoint by a male that fled west of that location. We did a search of that area and didn’t locate anyone. During the course of the investigation, we also checked some video and did not see a male suspect in the area,” DeWitt said.

“We found out later that there was no armed robbery and it was all faked. It was an inside job and four suspects were responsible for it.”

Dewitt said the department plans to arrest the suspects today or Thursday. Their names have not been released.

DeWitt added the more than $6,500 in stolen funds were recovered and will be returned to the business.

“There’s a lot of information to cover in regards to text messages and video to compile,” DeWitt said. “Since there’s no inherent danger, they are not in custody but will be shortly.”

The four suspects allegedly involved will face grand larceny and conspiracy charges, police said, adding the gas station employee may also face an additional charge of falsifying a police report.

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