Ex Dry Cleaner Employee Washes Up, Lands In Jail

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A disgruntled former employee of a local dry cleaner was arrested Tuesday after allegedly breaking into the business and cleaning it of valuables.

Eric Wennerlund, 21, reportedly made off with the business owner’s computer and handgun and tried to take the contents of the store’s cash register as well, but could not gain access, even after firing a shot at the drawer, according to police.

Two Payson officers found Wennerlund a day after the break-in and arrested him on charges of burglary, theft, criminal damage, misconduct involving weapons and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, said police Chief Don Engler.

On Monday, around 7 p.m., several people reported seeing broken glass at Rim Country Cleaners, 112 E. Highway 260.

Officers discovered the business had been burglarized and a handgun and laptop were missing, Engler said.

“It was also determined that a shot was fired during the burglary in an attempt to gain access into the cash register drawer,” he said.

Detectives learned the owner had recently fired Wennerlund.

On Tuesday, officers Lorenzo Ortiz and Justin Deaton found Wennerlund in a vehicle in the southwest area of town, Engler said.

The officer recovered the laptop and handgun and Wennerlund was booked into the Gila County Jail.

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