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Former Tire Warehouse employee charged in theft

GREENFIELD — A Montague man has been charged with embezzling about $33,000 from a local tire shop.

David E. Ovitt III, 24, of 248 Turnpike Road, pleaded innocent to a charge of larceny over $250 by a single scheme Friday in Greenfield District Court.

Ovitt’s arraignment came nearly a year after he allegedly stole $32,749.35 from Tire Warehouse.

Ovitt worked as the shop’s assistant manager from February to August last year, and his duties included taking the business’ cash to Peoples United Bank for deposit after owner Leonard Weeks prepared the deposits the previous night, according to court documents.

The alleged thefts came to light when Weeks received a call from the bank to discuss a discrepancy between the deposit slip and the cash, according to a written statement by Weeks.

The bank told Weeks that $200 had been deposited, raising his suspicions, according to a police report by officer Chad Sumner. Weeks told Sumner that he did some digging and found the original deposit slip, for $800, in the business’ trash can, the officer wrote.

Weeks told police that it appeared Ovitt would take the original deposit slips, throw them away and write new ones for lesser amounts, pocketing the difference, according to Weeks’ written statement. Weeks also wrote that it appeared Ovitt would forgo some deposits altogether, stealing the entire amount of cash to be deposited.

Looking through the deposit slips, Weeks told police, he began to notice that several were not in his handwriting.

Weeks said he confronted Ovitt in August. Ovitt admitted to stealing about $4,000 and promised to pay it back, according to a report by Detective Kevin Rowell. Weeks hired an accountant to check his books for the period Ovitt was employed by the business, and the accountant found that more than eight times that amount was missing, according to the report.

When Weeks discovered the amount of the theft he rescinded his offer to have Ovitt reimburse him, and decided to pursue criminal charges, according to court documents.

“I am appalled by the extent to which I have been betrayed,” Weeks wrote.

The two-inch-thick case file included copies of the allegedly altered deposit slips and bank statements, from March 2, 2013 through August, when Ovitt was fired.

In addition to the alleged thefts, Weeks wrote that he had discovered that Ovitt, who was responsible for the business’ payroll, had paid himself for a week’s worth of unauthorized vacation.

“I gave (Ovitt) the benefit of the doubt many times, because I trusted him,” Weeks wrote. He added that Ovitt appeared well-mannered, well-dressed and was “good with customers.”

Tire Warehouse had been reimbursed by its insurance company for $25,000 of the missing money, leaving the business out about $7,749, according to court documents.

Ovitt was given a court-appointed lawyer and released on personal recognizance. He is set to return to court Aug. 21 for a pretrial conference.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279 On Twitter, follow @RecorderRain

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