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Teenage employee accused of embezzling nearly $10,000 from Kingsport car wash

Kacie Breeding • Mar 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — A Kingsport teen has been arrested and charged with embezzling nearly $10,000 from a Model City car wash where he had worked part time since 2007.

Kingsport Police Department Detective Randy Murray said Jared Lyons, a high school senior who recently turned 18, faces one count of theft over $1,000.

“I can’t believe he’s as brazen as he’s been,” said Wayne Deere, who owns the Southern Classic Auto Wash on Fort Henry Drive where Lyons worked.

Lyons confessed Monday to pocketing $9,677 between Jan. 3 and Feb. 21, Murray said. He denied being involved in drugs and offered no motive for the theft, Murray said.

Manager Rick Bowery said Lyons had been a part-time employee since July 2007. He started out vacuuming and wiping down cars, then became a cashier in December 2008, Bowery said.

At first, “somebody would come in, and he wouldn’t give them a receipt and ring a no sale on the cash register,” Deere alleged.

On Feb. 21, Bowery said Deere’s wife called to tell him her CPA had gone through the wash and Lyons didn’t ring up payment or give him a receipt.

“(He) called my wife and told her that the kid took his money. He paid cash and (Lyons) did not give him a receipt,” Deere said.

That day, Bowery said he compared the cash register tape to the “tunnel watch” printout that counts the number of cars going through the wash. The number of cars was “way higher” than the cash register tally, he said.

On Feb. 23, Bowery noted the same issue at the end of Lyons’ shift, so he put up a video camera at the register.

One day while Lyons was working the cash register, Bowery said 197 cars went through the wash, but there were only 140 transactions recorded.

Bowery said he learned of Lyons second alleged method of embezzlement on March 5. A regular customer said she’d been given a receipt showing a $3 discount — but she’d paid full price.

The discount, Bowery said, is for people who bring in a receipt from Deere’s other business, Southern Classic Express Lube.

Surveillance footage shows Lyons setting aside $3 at a time, usually while processing credit card transactions, then changing it up to bigger bills after awhile and pocketing the cash at the end of the day, Bowery said.

Lyons was booked into the city jail and released after posting a $3,000 bond.

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