The former manager of a New Harbor convenience store faces felony forgery and theft charges after, according to police, she embezzled over $50,000 from the store in 13 1/2 months.
Siarra M. Kear, 23, of New Harbor, was arrested in Colorado on Friday, Feb. 24 after more than two weeks at large. She is fighting extradition to Maine, according to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Michael Murphy.
Kear faces one count each of class B forgery and class B theft by unauthorized taking, according to court documents. A class B crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The Aurora Police Department in Aurora, Colo., a suburb of Denver, arrested Kear on a warrant out of Lincoln County, according to Murphy. She is in custody at an Arapahoe County jail with bail set at $5,000 cash or surety.
Kear was an employee of Dee’s Variety for about six years, according to an affidavit by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Scott Hayden. She was the store manager from January 2013 until January of this year.
Dee’s Variety is a convenience store and gas station at the intersection of Bristol Road and Huddle Road in New Harbor.
As store manager, Kear was responsible for ordering, payroll, scheduling, and some bookkeeping, according to Hayden’s report. She was also involved with the daily operations of the store.
Dee’s Variety owner Patti Dee told Hayden that around the summer or fall of 2016, several items related to the store’s finances went missing, including bank statements, bills, and check registers. Kear told Dee she had the items at her home and was working on bookkeeping tasks from home. Dee asked her to return the items, but she didn’t.
In early January 2017, $3,200 in cash went missing from the store, according to the report. The same day, Kear did not show up for work.
Dee contacted her bank to request statements for the last year, and found more than $35,000 in unauthorized checks payable to Kear, according to the report. She also found $3,227.18 in unauthorized charges to a business credit card in Kear’s name.
“There are numerous charges to Amazon Video on Demand, Wal-Mart (including a $938.99 charge that Patti found was the purchase of a TV for Siarra’s boyfriend), and also a $425 charge to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Portland,” Hayden said in the report.
Hayden obtained a subpoena for Kear’s personal bank records and found the unauthorized checks had been deposited into her checking account.
Dee was told Kear had left Jan. 29 and driven to Kansas to stay with relatives, according to Hayden’s report. After an unsuccessful attempt to contact Kear on her cellphone, Hayden obtained a warrant for her arrest Feb. 7.
Further investigation has placed the amount of the theft at more than $52,000, according to Murphy. The theft began “on or about” Dec. 1, 2015 and continued through about Jan. 15, according to court documents.
Kear’s extradition “should be a fairly quick process,” Murphy said.