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Man charged with taking bank bags from pizza place

A 43-year-old Port Orchard man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly stealing two bags of cash and checks from a local pizza business, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

John A. Uribe was charged with one count of first-degree theft Wednesday in Kitsap County Superior Court, and is currently being held in Kitsap County Jail under $25,000 bail.

The theft was discovered Feb. 17 when two residents of an apartment building near Domino’s Pizza on Lund Avenue found two bank bags in the parking lot as they left for work shortly before 4 a.m. The bags were reportedly full of checks written out to the business, and the residents called 911.

A deputy responded and later contacted the manager of the business, who said he had just discovered two bags full of cash and checks were missing and he was about to call the police. The manger told the deputy that the bags had contained a total of $1,900 in cash and $1,100 in checks.

The manager said he had contacted the employee who closed the store the night before, a 19-year-old man, who admitted that he put the bags in the safe, but he may have forgotten to lock it. He added that a man had come into the store twice the previous night and he may have taken the bags.

The deputy then contacted the employee, who said at about 10:25 p.m. the previous night, someone came into the business while he was in the back, and when he came up to the counter, he said the man asked for free pizza because he was hungry. When he told him he didn’t have any, the man left.

About an hour later, the employee said the man returned, again asking for free pizza, and this time he said he had just been making pizza for himself and told the man he could have a slice. While the man was still there, the employee said he went into the walk-in refrigerator to get some dough, and when he came out, the man had left and was walking away “very fast.”

The employee said he did not check the safe again until well after midnight, when he was closing up. He said he noticed that two bags were missing, but that he assumed his manager had come in earlier to retrieve them. He described the suspect as a balding man in his 30s or 40s with dirty hair whom he had seen about a month ago, as well.

The manager then talked to the owner of the convenience store next-door and asked him if he could review the store’s surveillance video. While watching the footage with the deputy, the employee recognized the suspect, who was seen entering and leaving the store twice around 10:15 p.m. to buy beer.

Later that day, another deputy was contacted by a Port Orchard resident who reported that her son found a plastic bag in her mailbox that contained a large amount of cash. When the deputy retrieved the bag, he noted that it contained $1,858 in cash and later discovered that a nearby restaurant was missing a large amount of money and checks, though the checks had recently been returned.

On March 9, one of the business’ employees called deputies to report that the suspect — later identified as Uribe — had been seen walking on Jackson Avenue, and was later positively identified by the store employee who saw him the night of the alleged theft.

On March 10, Uribe was placed under arrest and booked into jail for first-degree theft. While Uribe was in custody, the deputy he returned the money to spoke with him and asked him if he remembered him.

Uribe said he recognized him as the man he returned the money to and insisted he hadn’t done anything wrong, that he had found the money in the mailbox and returned it.

His next court date is April 2.

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