Payson police say a Fletcher’s employee stole money and guns then threw a rock through this window to make it look like a break-in. One problem, the hole in the window was too high and small for anyone to crawl through.
A 27-year-old man is likely off the job after reportedly stealing money and then staging a robbery at his work two weeks ago.
After a few days of detective work, police believe they cracked the case of who broke into Fletcher’s Tire and Auto. A few telltale clues tipped officers off early on, including a broken window that no one could have climbed through to enter the building.
They arrested William “Billy” Gene Gibson, of Payson on Jan. 21 and charged him with theft and burglary.
Det. Mike McAnerny wrote in a police report that Gibson’s unusual behavior aroused his suspicions.
On the morning of Jan. 17, when a manager discovered the break-in, Gibson reportedly showed up early, something he never did. He then listened in when McAnerny spoke with the manager while all the other employees worked. Furthermore, Gibson had been the last employee to leave the shop the night before, McAnerny wrote in the report.
Later, officers reportedly found a handgun stolen from the shop hidden in Gibson’s home.
According to the police report, a manager discovered the break-in just before 8 a.m., finding glass in the front lobby, the register empty, the office ransacked and another manager’s gun missing.
When McAnerny arrived, he noticed two river rocks behind the front counter, obviously used to break a large side window.
However, the hole in the window was not only far too high off the ground for anyone to climb through, it was also much too small, he wrote in the report.
A search of the shop revealed an unlocked back door. None of the vehicles had been touched and a number of high value items had been left behind. Only the gun and roughly $340 in cash were missing.
When McAnerny looked at the register drawer, he noticed glass in the till.
“If the register drawer was shut properly it should have covered this area and there should not have been any glass in that area,” he said.
McAnerny wrote that it appeared the window was broken after the burglary.
Putting it all together, “I was quite certain that no one had entered the store from that area (the window),” he said.
While McAnerny spoke with the opening manager, Gibson allegedly stopped to listen while the rest of the employees continued cleaning up.
McAnerny learned all of the employees knew the alarm code and that Gibson and another employee had closed up the night before. When Gibson stopped to use the restroom, the other employee reportedly went home.
The next day, Gibson showed up 25 minutes early for work, although he was notoriously usually at least 10 minutes late, McAnerny wrote.
Officers reportedly discovered the missing handgun during a search of Gibson’s home, but not the cash.