Former Crazy Tomato employee charged with burglarizing restaurant

Rain Smith • Aug 24, 2009 at 12:00 AM

A former employee of the Crazy Tomato, 4250 Fort Henry Drive, Kingsport, has been arrested and charged with burglarizing the restaurant.

According to an incident report from Kingsport Police, employees arriving for work Saturday morning found two windows broken and the office ransacked. A large flat screen TV had also been pulled off the wall and broken.

The owner, Ahmad Mahmodian, told police $2,600 in cash was missing from files where the the night shift places deposits, along with about $250 worth of liquor.

Mahmodian told police he suspected a former employee, Victor James Ray, 26, of committing the burglary. Mahmodian said he had fired Ray, of 1005 Harte St., and Ray had recently tried to get his job back. His employment request was denied.

According to the police report, on Aug. 9 the Crazy Tomato was burglarized in a similar fashion. Mahmodian had also suspected Ray in that incident. And there was a burglary at Mahmodian's Crazy Tomato in Johnson City.

Mahmodian told police Ray would be familiar with both restaurants, as his wife was previously employed at each location.

The restaurant's surveillance equipment was reviewed, showing the incident occurred around 4:13 Saturday morning. Camera's captured a vehicle in the parking lot and man inside the restaurant.

Police asked three waitresses to review the video, and all three stated the suspect was Ray.

Police also interviewed an employee of the Best Western, located next to Crazy Tomato. The employee advised she was working the night of the restaurant's Aug. 9 burglary, and saw a suspicious 4-door sedan in the parking lot. She thought the vehicle was a dark colored Ford Taurus, or similar vehicle.

The incident report says police went to Ray's residence and photographed a black Ford Taurus in the driveway. The employee of Best Western was shown the photos, and said it was the same suspicious vehicle she had observed the night of the previous burglary.

Police say Ray was located on Fort Robinson Drive near West Center Street. Based on identification provided by waitresses who reviewed the restaurant's surveillance footage, and statements from the employee of Best Western, Ray was placed under arrest for burglary and theft of more than $1,000.

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