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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store employee charged with ripping off her employer

A Leesburg woman has been arrested for fraud after admitting to refunding three batteries and pocketing the money as an O’Reilly Auto Parts employee.

Nathalie Kremer
Nathalie Kremer

An officer responded to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, located at 712 N. 14th Street, regarding a theft complaint around 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department. 

Upon the officer’s arrival, the officer met with the business’ loss prevention officer who explained that they received a call from the store manager about an employee, identified as 25-year-old Nathalie Kremer, stealing money from the store. They conducted a thorough investigation into the refunds Kremer had made. This revealed that she stole and refunded three brand new car batteries totaling $826.54, the report said. 

The LPO and district manager proceeded to interview Kremer with an active audio recording device. The LPO advised that the two-hour recording of the interview would be available later, so the officer was unable to listen to it. The interview was conducted on June 12 at about 3:30 p.m., the report said. 

The LPO further stated that during the internal interview, Kremer admitted to stealing from the store on two separate occasions. At about 7 p.m. on June 5, she made one fraudulent return on a car battery and two more on June 9. Her reasoning for doing so was personal because she needed the money for a place to stay and a storage unit, the report said. 

Kremer also admitted that she would take the new batteries, dirty them and then refund them, effectively removing them from the store’s inventory. She gave the numbers for two invoices where the charges were used. She confirmed that she worked alone, and no other parties were involved. She concluded by stating that she was willing to pay back the stolen amount, the report said. 

The LPO gave the officer a receipt containing all the unpaid merchandise. This included one prorated battery with a three-year warranty worth $209.99 and two prorated batteries with three-year warranties worth $249.99 each. The total loss was $826.70 including return value, battery fee, battery cost and sales tax, the report said. 

Kremer left the premises before the officer got there. The LPO still completed a sworn written statement, initialed “yes” for prosecution and was issued a victim rights brochure. The officer was also given a statement from Kremer which was taken from the LPO with her signature stating that she stole from the store, the report said. 

Kremer went last week to the police department to pick up a copy of the incident report and was taken into custody. She admitted to taking the batteries and fraudulently refunding items due to needing money for a place to stay after being left homeless from an abusive relationship, the report said. 

Kremer was charged with fraud (grand theft $750 to $5,000) and fraud (scheme to defraud less than $20K). She was transported to Lake County Jail and released after posting $5,000 bond. 

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