Courtesy Kill Devil Hills Police Department
Updated: Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012, 6:24 AM EST
Published : Tuesday, 27 Nov 2012, 8:16 PM EST
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WAVY) - A former employee of a souvenir store located in Nags Head has been arrested for stealing thousands of dollars worth of property from the store.
According to the Kill Devil Hills Police Department, Heather Austin had stolen t-shirts, sweatshirts, sunglasses, hats and other goods from Souvenir City, located at 6902 S. Virginia Dare Trail.
Austin then allegedly gave the items to a friend who sold those items at "J.C.'s Place Clothing and More," 2401 N. Croatan Highway.
Souvenir City is operated by Beach Mart, Inc. which owns "Wings" chain stores on the Outer Banks.
Austin is no longer with Souvenir City and police say she now works as the deputy clerk of court at the Dare County Clerk of Court's Office.
Police say Beach Mart had reported to Nags Head police May 7 between $5,000 and $15,000 worth of cash and/or property were stolen.
According to police, Austin became a person of interest when they learned she was recently hired, was responsible for opening and closing the store, had keys to the store and the property loss problems ended when she stopped working with the company.
In mid-November, police say they found out the items were being sold at J.C.'s Place, owned by Jamie "J.C." Cooper of Manteo.
During a search warrant Nov. 21, police say approximately 1,132 t-shirts, 500 sweatshirts, 519 sunglasses and 234 hats were recovered from the store.
Cooper told police Austin gave her the items, which Austin told police were given to her by a manager of Souvenir City. Police say they have not been able to verify that claim and charged Austin with conspiracy to possess stolen property and larceny by employee.
The arrest was a culmination of an investigation conducted by Nags Head Police Department, Kill Devil Hills Department and the Dare County Sheriff's Office.
Austin has been released on unsecured bond. Charges against Cooper will be brought by a grand jury, according to police. Austin could face additional charges.
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