Candy shop refutes employee's account of missing money case

Candy shop refutes employee's account of missing money case

EUGENE, Ore. - The owner of a candy store refutes the account a 16-year-old employee and her father gave KVAL News about the investigation into money missing from the till at closing time Saturday.

"I said I could not comment on the investigation because I needed to protect the employee," Dane Danforth with Goody's Chocolates said in an email to KVAL News on Monday, explaining why he wouldn't speak on the record Sunday. "If you would have told me that the dad and Harmony gave you their side of the story then I would have felt comfortable giving you confidential information and been able to refute what she said."

Danforth refuted a number of points in employee Harmony Bray's account of what happened.

Harmony told KVAL News she was closing the store by herself for the first time. Danforth said she had closed the store on previous occasions.

According to Danforth, Harmony called her manager at home when she couldn't balance the books sometime after 9. The manager called Danforth after 10 to report $260 was missing, he said.

"We problem solved with the managers - could the money be under the cash drawer, is it in the deposit bag, did Harmony leave the store at any time?" Danforth said. "Harmony was working with us the entire time. We asked if she left the cash drawer open. She said she might have when she went to get caramel corn.  However, when we checked the tape there was not a time when she went and got caramel corn.

"Harmony said there were no $20s in the till. However, she collected several $20s from customers as recorded in the cash register tape, therefore there were $20s in the till. The latest being at 8:17 p.m. When Harmony was told this she got upset and started to cry.

"There were several customers in the store during her work time after 8:15. The tip jar that sits on the front counter was untouched," Danforth said. "Since we could not find the money we had the manager follow our policy. The manager called the police and reported the money was missing and that it was either a customer that took it or Harmony since she was the only employee working. We just called the police and talked to Lt. Feldman and their records confirm this.

"The manager had Harmony call her dad as a courtesy to let him know the police were notified," Danforth wrote. "Office Greene arrived with another gentlemen with an 'observer' lanyard.  Per our manager, Officer Greene walked over to Harmony, took her right arm and said 'You are under arrest' and started to handcuff her. The manager went to say something to the officer and he put his arm up as a stop gesture. He read Harmony her rights and told her it was for theft."

"The whole time the officer was handcuffing and reading Harmony her rights, her parents were verbally combative to the police," Danforth wrote. "The manager reported that at no time did she see Officer Greene nor the other officer aggressively grab, jerk or be violent with Harmony. After talking with the manager Officer Greene unhandcuffed Harmony."

Danforth said Bray's father called the store manager the next day demanding a letter of recommendation for his daughter. When told that the manager could not write a letter of recommendation, Danforth said the father threatened to take the story to the news.