did my intern frame my coworker for credit card theft?

A reader writes:

This past summer, the section I supervise had some interns working here. All of them were offered jobs here once the internships were over. However one of them has created a situation where she lied to the police, but my boss and HR have still decided to offer her a job.

A staff member really liked the intern’s jacket and would often comment saying so. When the jacket went missing, the intern went to security and the footage from the lobby and parking area showed the staff member taking the jacket to her car when most other people were in a meeting. The intern got the police involved and told them her wallet with all of her ID and credit/debit cards were in her pocket. It was found that dozens of Amazon orders were placed with the intern’s credit card in the name of the staff member, to be shipped to a pick up point near our office. Our office is opened without assigned seating so although IT could say which computer was used to place the orders there is no way of knowing who did the ordering.

The police believe it was the staff member and she has been charged for stealing and using the credit card. She admits to taking the jacket but says she doesn’t know anything about the card. She says the intern placed the orders in her name once she realized the jacket was missing as a form of revenge. The staff member is credible, she has no history of trouble working here, has no criminal record and is a good person who volunteers and is active with her church and her family. He husband has told me that her lawyer advised her to take plea to get less time in jail because a trial would not be good for her.

I am concerned about the intern having lied to the police and her now being offered a full-time job. I am not sure how to frame this when I speak to my boss. I want to discuss it with him because some of my other team members have concerns about this intern also.

I don’t know how your office could possibly sort through this better than the police and prosecutors can. You’re presumably not criminal investigators, and it sounds like there’s no obvious way to tell who placed those orders.

But I’d be very wary of assuming that the person who stole the jacket is telling you the truth about the rest of the incident. You say that she has no criminal record and is a good person who volunteers, but you also know that she stole a jacket from an intern. I think you need to consider that there’s more going on with her than you knew about.

The one fact you know for sure here is that she did indeed steal from a coworker (it’s on videotape and she admits that). Given that, you can’t give her the benefit of the doubt about the pieces of this that aren’t on video.

And note that you’re taking her word as fact. In the opening to your letter, you wrote the intern “lied to the police.” But you really don’t know that. Your only evidence for that is the word of someone who stole from a coworker and now has strong motivation to downplay any other pieces of that crime.

If you have other concerns about the intern, which it sounds like you do, you can absolutely share those with your boss. But you don’t have grounds for alleging that she placed those Amazon orders herself, and it would be wrong of you to assert that as fact. You can certainly pass along to your boss that your other coworker is claiming that’s what happened, but you should be careful to note that you’re only passing on information and that you have no way of judging the veracity of any of this. (And if nothing else, your boss should be aware that you and others in the office are looking at the intern with such suspicion. That has the potential to create a really bad situation, so your boss should know.)

All that said … it would be awfully poor judgment to use your own name when ordering on someone else’s stolen credit card! It’s like robbing a house and leaving a signed note behind. If anything here makes me wonder about the intern’s version of events, it’s this. But lots of people commit incredibly stupid crimes so that in itself isn’t evidence of anything … and again, these are all questions for the police, the prosecutor, and your coworker’s lawyer to work out. Your office can’t solve this.

{ 1,365 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Dee

    > The staff member is credible, she has no history of trouble working here, has no criminal record and is a good person who volunteers and is active with her church and her family.

    …Except for the bit where she stole something from another person in the office, in broad daylight. Obviously, if you’re right–IF–about the intern, that’s also a problem. But this is not cut-and-dried just because your coworker goes to church.

    Reply
    1. Snark

      Yeah, I understand reflexively siding with the person you know and like and have trusted, but….OP, c’mon. All that’s currently true from that quote is that she’s active with her church and her family. And that’s not going to excuse much.

      Reply
      1. strawberries and raspberries

        Seriously. I read the part about her church and her family and I was like, “Oh, okay, case closed then. “

        Reply
            1. AJHall

              You aren’t allowed to covet your neighbour’s ox, so if it was a leather jacket that’s the commandment bag to rights.

              Reply
        1. many bells down

          That’s what the manager at my daughter’s first afterschool job said, when I told them the other manager had been texting my daughter dick pics. “But he goes to church!” Yeah, okay, not relevant here.

          Reply
          1. Ego Chamber

            Gross.

            The only halfway good response I’ve found to receiving dick pics is sending dick pics back. Since I’ve been sent so many (unsolicited), I figure they should at least get some use, you know?

            Reply
            1. Noobtastic

              Do you accompany them with a caption, “You think that’s big? Take a look at THIS one!” Or “That’s nothing. Check THIS out!”

              Reply
                1. Susan Calvin

                  I don’t want to get too off topic here, but… maybe rethink that strategy? I can understand the impulse, and imagine it’s depressingly effective, but it feels kind of a lot like throwing trans women under the bus for a punchline/gotcha.

                2. Batshua

                  I should try that sometime, preferably with a photo of something I own.

                  *coughs politely*

                  … and I think that’s all I’ll say about that here.

                3. a different Vicki

                  Maybe “no thanks, I like mine better” and a photo of either a rooster or a famous person named Richard?

          2. Anna

            It happened when a woman came into a shelter I worked at. English wasn’t her first language and of course her husband *couldn’t* have been abusive because he was so active in their church!

            No, he could have been abusing his wife because he knew if she left nobody would believe her.

            Reply
              1. bunanza

                The idea is that there’s no correlation between brown hair (going to church) and liking ham sandwiches (not being a thief). They’re totally unrelated attributes.

                Reply
            1. Leticia

              I came here because my atheist self was ticked off by the “she goes to church, therefore she is a good person” argument, but I see I wasn’t the only one. This is a response I am going to save for when I need it.

              In my experience, church going people have a recourse to get forgiveness – confess and do some hail Marys and you are on your way to heaven – or they feel they need to sin to be forgiven – or some other mindset I haven’t figured – that allows them to be worse than the average decent atheist that has to answer about his actions to his own conscience.

              Maybe I am wrong and people just make mistakes, plenty of mistakes.

              Reply
              1. Gabe

                Hmm no, I think there’s /no correlation/ between going to church and being a good person, and being an atheist doesn’t get you off the hook either.

                Reply
                1. Noobtastic

                  I agree. I think people are gonna people, whether they go to church or not. Some people just people very badly, and other people people very well.

                  Church is not supposed to be a measure of success in being good a good person. Church is where people go to learn how to be good. Some people just learn how to *appear* good. And some learn how to appear good from reading self help books at the library. And some learn how to BE good from reading self help books at the library.

                  Just ask Jesus about the Pharisees. They appeared very good, but they sure weren’t. But they were not the entire religion, either.

                  The thing is, church, whichever sect you join, is going to be something of a mini-culture. A whole lot of people go to church not because they believe any of it, but because “it’s what’s done,” and because they can make useful connections there. The ones who actually believe, though, take that belief system with them, wherever they go, even if they can’t make it to church, specifically.

                  TL;DR: Judge individuals as individuals.

                2. Candi

                  Noobtastic, I LOVE this comment. <3 All the Internets, especially the last line.

                  Also, +1 for the mention of the Pharisees. Jesus was always hardest on them; they were both supposed to know better and be guiding lights.

                  On the blatantly obvious crime: I read true crime history for fun. Most criminals have very poor forward-thinking skills; now/the (very) short term is what matters. Low emotional maturity as well; self-centeredness and "magical thinking" are how they operate.

                  Magical Thinking: Everything will turn out the way they expected because they believe it will happen that way; failure and detours can't happen because that would mean the person wouldn't get what they want.

                  Which pattern of thought may give the LW a key as to who's lying -and explain why the cops, DA, and defense lawyer took the actions they did.

            2. Batshua

              Or the real life example that a friend of mine gets a lot:

              “How can you be black and allergic to chocolate?”

              I … never know what to say when I hear that yet again someone somehow thinks being black should make you immune to having a chocolate allergy.

              Reply
              1. Annonymouse

                I guess the thinking is “you have chocolate coloured skin so chocolate must be good for/part of you.”?

                (Never mind it not being indigenous to their countries of genetic origin.)

                Yeah…. this is a stupid thing to say with no justification.

                Reply
          1. Bea

            Theft and coveting the objects of others are 2 of 10. Lying would mean she’s down to 7 out of 10 *doh* Just keep crossing them off at this rate.

            Reply
                1. Noobtastic

                  Back when I was in school, 70% was enough to pass. Just barely, with a D-, but still, passing.

                  69 was just as hard a failure as a 0. Go figure.

                2. Dr Wizard, PhD

                  In the UK and UK-influenced university grading scales, 70% is a first class honours. So that’s something, at least.

      2. Hills to Die on

        I don’t understand reflexively siding with the only person you can prove actually stole. I’m actually fascinated by this.

        You would accuse a person who had zero evidence against them WHY? Because they were the victim so you assume they are starting trouble? Because You don’t know them? Because you think the intern got your friend in trouble? I am genuinely curious about your thought processs here.

        Reply
        1. Ego Chamber

          My guess is it has something to do with the other problems LW and coworkers have with this intern, which LW didn’t expand on, probably for brevity. Unless the other problems are things like “Intern is always saying it’s cold in here” or “Intern is a fish-microwaver,” and other petty nonsense.

          Reply
          1. Anion

            I’m imagining someone pointing an accusatory finger at the intern and shouting, “You are a fish-microwaver!”

            And everyone else in the office nods solemnly.

            Then they make the intern pin a scarlet “F” to her cool jacket.

            Reply
            1. Specialk9

              Wait, are we now not tarring and feathering those fish nukers? Dangit, guys, I just got a whole barrel of tar and I cut open my best pillow. Give me a little more heads up next time, ok?

              Reply
              1. Ego Chamber

                Nope, no more tar and feathering. It’s the Scolds Bridle for fish-microwavers (obviously).

                Sorry about your best pillow. :(

                Reply
                1. Traffic_Spiral

                  Scold’s Bridles??? [tosses torch and pitchfork in the air dramatically] why do we even bother having an angry mob listserv if you’re not going to use it to tell us which medieval punishment accessories to bring?

                  Sorry, I’m being mean. Scold’s Bridles are fine – I’ll just drop by Hobby Lobby on the way home.

              1. Noobtastic

                I confess. I used to be an office fish micro-waver. When people complained, I thought it was because they were jealous of my delicious fish.

                Thank you for enlightening me.

                Reply
          2. Millie M

            Fish microwaving is not a petty thing. My horrible ex-worker burnt fish in the microwave one time. The microwave is at the end of our not-very-long hall, so it’s right next to our offices, not in a break room far away. The stench was so thick you could cut it with a knife. We had the doors open and fans running all afternoon, and it still reeked the next morning. You might think burnt popcorn is bad, but let me tell you, it is nothing compared to burnt fish. I’m so glad that co-worker is gone (there are a million more reasons, but I’ll save those for another time).

            Reply
    2. Archie Goodwin

      Yeah, that jumped out at me, too. It’s possible that this is a one-off, but even so…the theft of the jacket doesn’t exactly scream “credibility” to me.

      Reply
      1. SignalLost

        Hell of a one-off. I just complimented a woman at Starbucks on her scarf. I did not knock her down and take it, because the leap from “I like that” to “it’s mine now!” is a bit longer for most people than for this staff member. Most people just ask where you got it and make a note to actively or passively look for a similar item.

        Reply
        1. Archie Goodwin

          True, but I’ve heard enough stories of people suffering severe lapses in judgment that I can imagine this as a one-time thing. Or first-time thing, if you’d rather look at it that way.

          Reply
          1. Lady Ood

            I kind of doubt that. Her desire to avoid going to trial indicates, to me, anyway, that she is more than a little concerned about what additional investigation of her past might bring to light. This may be a first time thing, but only in the sense that it’s the first time she got caught.

            Reply
            1. July

              I do want to point out that the -vast- majority of people avoid going to trial through plea bargaining: around 97 percent of federal convictions and 94 percent of state convictions happen that way. Some of these people are genuinely innocent. Defendants may feel coerced into pleading guilty by their attorneys or they simply may be too afraid of being convicted on the more serious charges brought against them. It’s a lot more common than most people realize, so I think we should be careful about assuming people plead guilty just to avoid having a whole bunch of other crimes investigated.

              Reply
              1. SirTechSpec

                Not to mention, *you don’t get time off for being involved with the law.* This is one of the reasons why wrongful arrests are so serious – even if the police turn around a few days later and say “whoops, just kidding, you’re free to go”, in the meantime you’ve very possibly been fired for not showing up (and nothing says employers have to consider “I was in jail” a valid excuse even if you can contact them somehow.)

                So a plea bargain where you can be convicted but sentenced to community service, a fine, or probation rather than prison, and get back to living your life, is often a better/the only option when the alternative is a trial that takes months and leaves you in jail in the meantime unless you can make bail, and would require considerable time, effort, and money regardless.

                (Though in this case, it hardly seems likely that she’s innocent of the theft of the jacket, so that in itself is reason enough to plead guilty rather than go through a trial. Doesn’t really say anything either way about if she’s hiding something else.)

                Reply
                1. Ego Chamber

                  “Though in this case, it hardly seems likely that she’s innocent of the theft of the jacket, so that in itself is reason enough to plead guilty rather than go through a trial.”

                  It doesn’t sound like she’s pleading guilty to stealing the jacket though, it sounds like she’s pleading guilty to credit card fraud, which makes this even more fucked-up if it’s a revenge scheme in response to stealing a jacket. (Obvious disclaimer: Stealing is wrong.)

                  There’s no way for the coworker to prove her innocence (which is what they’re looking for here, rather than trying to prove guilt) since it’s an open office and anyone can access the computer that was used to place the orders and those computers don’t have login requirements (whut) and there are no cameras inside the building and the coworker was in the building when the orders were placed but she wasn’t at a meeting or working on another computer or anything else that would give her an alibi.

                  Basically, she’s screwed if it goes to court, and a plea bargain is the obvious answer in even a cursory cost/benefit analysis.

                  Tl;dr: I agree with everything you said, but I wanted to point out that the crime in question is credit card fraud, and this whole thing sounds like a shit show and it’s going to be really awkward for everyone working there for a while no matter what happens.

                2. Not So NewReader

                  At EG, you’d think the cameras would show her sitting at a computer and maybe even making those orders. I don’t get why the camera shows her stealing the coat but there are no cameras on the work stations/areas.

                3. JamieS

                  Ego Chamber, if the OP is in the US(remains to be seen) no she doesn’t have to prove her innocence. She needs to prove nothing at all. The police need to prove she’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

                  Remember it’s not like the prosecutor and police are the intern’s personal enforcers so they’re not going to charge the co-worker at the intern’s behest.

                4. Artemesia

                  Usually people can get pre-trial diversion for something like this if it is a one off and get the record later expunged. Although the credit card fraud might remove that chance.

              2. FiveWheels

                Agreed, BUT if someone is willing to stand up in court and say “your honour, I done it” it’s reasonable to assume, in the absence of other evidence, that they did indeed done it.

                Reply
                1. OOF

                  This is a common misconception, but it’s simply not true. Often times defendants are told that they’re going to be convicted regardless, and this is their only chance to reduce the sentence. Or they’re young, indigent or otherwise unable to navigate the legal system/potential coercion/etc well and feel that they have no other options.

                  We have no idea whether this in any way applies to this scenario, but I do hope we can all understand more broadly that these factors are at play, since it impacts how we hire and otherwise interact with members of our community who have been in the legal system.

                2. FiveWheels

                  OOF, I’m not saying a sworn admission or guilt on a court of law is complete proof of guilt.

                  But if someone swears in open court that they did something, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is a VERY STRONG indication that the person did, in fact, do what they swore they did.

                3. fposte

                  @FiveWheels–this might also be a bit of a country divide. I would agree that it’s reasonable for a business to treat it as a done deal and that people can privately come to whatever conclusions they want; however, I suspect that in the U.S. the correlation between people pleading and people being guilty of what they’re pleading to isn’t as close as you’re suggesting. It should be, but I don’t know that it is. (A quick search finds University of Michigan research on that that backs that up–I’ll add a link in followup.)

                4. Betty Cooper

                  Also, in some jurisdictions, the court fees for pleading “not guilty” are higher than the fees for pleading “guilty.” There’s evidence that some people in those jurisdictions plead guilty simply because they can’t afford the other option.

              3. Dankar

                It’s not even that they feel coerced most times–defense attorneys typically don’t advise clients against their own interests. They’re simply honest about how much more disruptive fighting those charges may be compared to minimal sentences like community service or probation.

                Many of the people picked up for petty crimes have jobs or family responsibilities that preclude the MASSIVE amount of time it takes for something to wend its way through the court system, while others who can’t make bail would be forced to wait until their trial to resume their daily lives.

                Mandatory minimums also play into this: Take a plea for a reduced crime with more flexible sentencing or challenge and potentially lose on a case that carries a much higher punishment with no room for mitigation. Our justice system needs drastic reform.

                (All of this is not to say that I think the LW is correct to suspect the intern. Typically the DA’s office wouldn’t pursue a crime like this unless there was at least SOME compelling evidence. And the intern’s story carries the weight of the fact that the coworker irrefutably STOLE HER JACKET AT WORK. That smacks of judgement bad enough to use the credit cards that were likely in that jacket.)

                Reply
                1. lokilaufeysanon

                  And don’t forget states that use the three strike rule. That can be a huge motivator for some to take a plea deal if they have two strikes and can avoid a third. (Guilty or not.)

              4. Anon for This One

                I would agree. When I gave notice at my worst job ever, they wouldn’t let me perform my regular duties during my notice period, so they had me sit in my coworkers’ cubicles and do clerical tasks. I finished my notice period without incident–or so I thought. When I came in to pick up my last paycheck, they had one of my coworkers–the one I actually liked and thought was nice–accost me in the parking lot and accuse me of stealing somebody’s Coach wristlet while I was working in her cubicle. The wording was something like, “You and Joan were the only ones out front during the meeting, and Joan wouldn’t steal, so it must have been you.” I absolutely did not take the wristlet, but if they had decided to call the police, and the police felt I should be charged, I would have had to enter a guilty plea because a) I didn’t have money for an attorney, and B) I couldn’t prove that I didn’t take it. I was alone in the cubicle while the others were in their usual weekly meeting. It’s possible a student took the wristlet–our cubicles were in an open area that could be accessed by staff, teachers, students, and visitors–or that the coworker lost the wristlet, but I couldn’t prove that either of those things happened.

                Reply
                1. FiveWheels

                  Unless there is big time corruption, the police won’t charge you without evidence and the DA won’t prosecute you without evidence.

                  If there is big time corruption that’s another matter, but as a rule someone making completely unsubstantiated allegations is not enough to start a prosecution.

                2. FormerEmployee

                  You aren’t required to prove you didn’t take it. The police are required to prove you did. The co-worker who says “I just know she took it because…” would not be taken seriously by the police.

                3. Jessie the First (or second)

                  right, as the other two have noted, that is not how it works. At all.

                  So, let’s say that, with no evidence at all except for one person claiming she had a bracelet in there and that she thinks you must have taken it, the police arrest you, and send the case to the DA. The DA looks at it – and sees this as evidence:
                  1) 1 person claiming that an expensive bracelet existed, that she owned it, and that it was in her office
                  2) Same person claiming that the bracelet is not in her office anymore
                  3) Same person claiming she is *sure* it must be you, because even though other people were in her office, you were in there too

                  That’s not a case a DA would bring charges on. Criminal charges just don’t work that way. If we are actually in bizarro-land and the DA decides the above is worth taking to a jury for some reason, you do not have to prove you didn’t take it. The DA has to prove that you did, beyond reasonable doubt. You can literally say nothing the whole trial and a good defense attorney should be able to get a not guilty if all that exists is the “evidence” you listed. Seriously.

                  Criminal convictions are NOT so easily come by. While some people do take plea deals even while claiming they did nothing wrong, it tends to happen in FAR murkier circumstances than the one you have laid out, Anon for this one.

                4. Not So NewReader

                  NYS is working on having a public defender at arraignment for everyone with a misdemeanor. If you are income qualified you could have a PD as a lawyer for the case itself. There are pros and cons to this that are too far off track for our purposes right now, but the point is some states will provide you with an attorney if you have been charged with a misdemeanor.

                5. Bloo

                  @Jessie the first or second: Just a minor quibble, a Coach wristlet is a very small purse that can hang from your wrist. They’re expensive (cuz. …..Coach?) and generally have valuables so they can be separate from your purse. I’ve two and I use one as a de facto wallet (cash, credit cards, DPA, etc. ). Its not a bracelet, IOW.
                  I NEVER leave mine where someone else can access it. I, myself, am highly protective of my reputation (as well as my valuables) so I try to minimize unnecessary access to money, valuables. Protects me from being accused of theft. Ask me how many people I’ve worked for/with that enable their drug addict family members who….lie? Gasp!

          2. Elizabeth the Ginger

            A lapse in judgement might excuse “the staff member swiped a candy bar off the intern’s desk after hours” or “the staff member knocked the mirror off the intern’s care in the parking lot and panicked and lied about it” – but to walk all the way to her car with someone else’s property shows not just a momentary impulse, but a whole lot of moments following where the staff member continued to make bad decisions, even when she still could have turned around and brought the jacket back.

            Reply
                1. Death Rides a Pale Volvo

                  @MashaKasha: it’s a little early to win the entire damn week, don’t you think? Leave some for the rest of us.

        2. Christine D

          When I was 7 I was at a friend’s house and really liked a troll figurine she had, so I stole it. I felt so horrible after that I gave it away to my babysitter, and I’ve felt guilty about it since (I’m in my mid-30’s now) even though I never got caught.

          I’ve never stolen anything again, even the odd items they forgot to ring up at the grocery store. I’m not sure how the coworker whose morals allowed her to steal from another is presumed to be innocent about making purchases from the interns credit card.

          Reply
      2. many bells down

        My thought is that she could come up with a decent excuse for taking the jacket when/if she was caught. Maybe “oh I thought Sally left it behind by mistake so I grabbed it for safekeeping.” And thus she might avoid any real consequences because she’d get the benefit of the doubt. But stealing the credit card AND using it isn’t something you can come up with a believable story for, so of course she’s denying that. That’s a serious crime, whereas “oops took the wrong coat by mistake” isn’t.

        Reply
    3. Snarkus Aurelius

      Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker not only went to church but they ran the entire operation! Being active in church doesn’t mean squat.

      Reply
        1. Jesca

          See also John Wayne Gacy who volunteered a lot and just happened to have 33 boys buried under his house … I never for the life of me understand this “but they donate!!!” mentality.

          Reply
          1. Bea

            Right. The idea of someone being a good solid church going person meaning they wouldn’t do bad things is a cover and worse, a hunting ground for psychopaths.

            Reply
              1. Ego Chamber

                Fair enough, but church gives a far wider smoke screen: you don’t even have to volunteer/work for the church, you just have to go. I doubt I’d get the same free pass for merely having visited an animal shelter a couple times last year.

                Reply
              2. Bea

                True. This is why there are bad people in every walk of life including those that take care of children and the elderly. Teachers, healthcare or a firefighter “they’re so wonderful!” sure then why is there is child abuse at all, lots of which are committed by “good people” who believe in “spare the rod, spoil the child.” And not just a basic spanking debate but straight up starving and beatings. I grew up with a best friend who’s mother refused to let her eat because “she’d get fat” and she was all about the Good Book.

                Reply
              1. Pomona Sprout

                Yes, and according to Rule, he was quite good at handling the suicidal callers AND very well liked and respected by his colleagues–including Rule herself. Classic example of a psychopath hiding his true nature from those around him!

                Reply
                1. Relly

                  IIRC the volunteers at that hotline knew at the time that there was a serial killer at large … so that nice Ted Bundy guy would graciously walk them to their cars.

      1. Liz

        I grew up in a small New England town where, over a period of 10 years, 2 priests, a mayor, and a Youth Minister went to jail for raping kids.

        I wonder if the writer has heard of the movie “Spotlight.”

        Reply
    4. Lilo

      You really can’t know some people. A good-facing public veneer can hide a deep underbelly. I know we had a scandal where someone was stealing from a place I worked at in college and it was a guy everyone liked and seemed really stable in his home life, but it turned out he had a severe gambling problem.

      I am not saying everyone is suspect, but the fact that OP is so quick to blame the intern when coworker has shown some extreme behavior as stealing already suggests OP is in denial a bit.

      Reply
      1. Indoor Cat

        Gambling problems can get bad really fast. There was a woman who worked as a secretary and treasurer at my University who stole (embezzled?) $300k in two years. She was well liked, won “Secretary of the Year”, and had worked for the school for thirty-five years. For thirty-three of those years, she never stole a thing, but apparently she’d had a gambling problem for a long time. She maxed out credit cards, asked for money from family and friends until they stopped giving it to her, apparently burned some bridges after stealing from a friend (allegedly, she wasn’t convicted of this), until finally her addiction bled over into work. She was so certain that, any day now, she’d win big and be able to pay all the money back, but of course she couldn’t.

        It’s weird how she was able to hide it for so long. But, people are good at compartmentalizing. For a while, anyway.

        Reply
        1. Just Jess

          “It’s weird how she was able to hide it for so long.”

          It sounds like she hid it from coworkers for a long time. She’d probably been burning bridges with family and friends for decades.

          Reply
        1. Kelly L.

          Well, I think the frame-up theory is that they were never in there at all and the intern is lying, but Occam’s razor seems to point more toward her having stolen all the things, yes.

          Reply
            1. Kelly L.

              You know, I’m not totally sure, and I looked back over the post and I’m still not sure. Maybe this is something for OP to clarify: were the cards found in the jacket when it was recovered?

              Reply
              1. TootsNYC

                I think not, because the intern wouldn’t have had to tell police that that’s where her wallet was. They’d have told her.

                That said, the intern would have to go to a helluva a lot of trouble just to frame this woman. She’d have to cancel her cards and go without them, and not use them at all herself in between the time the jacket was stolen and she reported these purchases to the police.
                The police would be able to ask to see her credit-card (or debit) records to see where else they were used after the jacket was stolen.

                If you’re unaware enough to steal a jacket during broad daylight when there are cameras, you may also be unaware enough to use your own name when ordering (would you have to show your ID to pick up the stuff at the shipping spot?).

                I’m an active, regular church-goer, and I have to tell you: Use church-goers do not stop being flawed human beings. (in fact, that’s why I GO to church)
                And as part of being human, we fluctuate in our “holiness.”

                Reply
                1. That Would Be a Good Band Name

                  When our debit card was compromised, our bank did a pretty thorough investigation also. We had possession of our card though. Maybe when the card itself is reported stolen it’s different and they leave it up to the police? I can’t imagine that our bank wouldn’t have investigated and asked for video surveillance if there is any at the pick-up point.

                2. KitKat

                  There is an Amazon “drop box” a couple of blocks from my house, outside of a 7-11 it is literally a set of lockers, no human interaction, so no one to show id to.

                3. Viola Dace

                  Yeah, I used to go to a church where a member perpetrated a horrific financial crime (think Madoff) to many of the members who had trusted him with their money. He was sanctioned by the pastor as a financial advisor and everyone trusted him. Many people lost their entire life savings and their homes.

                4. Forrest

                  “I think not, because the intern wouldn’t have had to tell police that that’s where her wallet was.”

                  Only if the jacket was recovered before she told the police.

                5. many bells down

                  If it’s an Amazon locker, you don’t need ID, just the locker code that you’re given with the order. I’m in Seattle; I don’t know how prevalent Amazon lockers are elsewhere.

                6. Ego Chamber

                  “She’d have to cancel her cards and go without them, and not use them at all herself in between the time the jacket was stolen and she reported these purchases to the police.”

                  Not accurate. I worked customer service for a bank and as long as you report the fraudulent purchases as soon as you notice them (within 30 days of the purchases I think), you’re still covered under standard fraud protection. Using the cards after you had the jacket returned but before you noticed the fraud and reported it shouldn’t matter to the bank or the police, also you can have cards sent next-day or with 2-day shipping, so it’s not always a long wait, especially you’re the one reporting fraud as opposed to the bank proactively blocking cards because of a data breach (getting new cards for that takes forever).

                  I had kind of assumed these purchases were discovered (or “discovered” depending on your interpretation) that evening, the next day or later, since the details are a little fuzzy in the letter: jacket is missing, intern realizes jacket is missing and goes to security, security finds footage of coworker stealing jacket, —later— intern gets police involved. If this really was revenge-shopping done by the intern, she would have had to place the orders before she went to security, which is a damn cold thing to do since she would have had no proof it was the coworker who took her jacket at the time.

                7. Not So NewReader

                  @Toots: I loved this quote. “Churches are not museums for perfect people. They are hospitals for the wounded.” That to me is church done correctly. But there are plenty of churches that focus on other stuff and this causes problems.

              2. Elizabeth West

                It doesn’t make any difference–this is now a police matter. The OP’s office is not in charge of the investigation and I would highly recommend she NOT start her own version of one.

                FWIW, I think the coworker absolutely did it.

                Reply
            2. INTP

              My interpretation was that the wallet was in the jacket, but the suspicion was that as soon as intern realized the jacket was missing, she saw an opportunity to frame the coworker while the coworker was in possession of her stolen wallet and placed a bunch of Amazon orders (probably with credit card info she had memorized or saved to her Amazon account).

              It seems to me like it should be pretty easy for the police to figure this out. Whose Amazon account was used to place the order, for one.

              Reply
                1. DArcy

                  Given that the thief has been charged with both crimes and reportedly offered a plea deal, the police *already have* investigated, found her to be guilty, and referred the matter to the District Attorney, who after independently considering the evidence from the police has *also* agreed that she is guilty, and charged her.

                  In other words, 100% of the trained professionals and 100% of the people who have access to the full evidence believe the coworker to be guilty of both crimes.

              1. Engineer Girl

                All Amazon orders are date time stamped. The timing of the order could potentially show some insight. We’re the orders placed before the jacket was recovered? After? All that should show up in the police investigation.

                BTW – the IT department stinks! While there are hot seat stations at work, why are there no unique sign on IDs for each individual? How in the world can you track computer impropriety?

                Reply
                1. Beaded Librarian

                  I agree, but it is possible that people do log in with their own ID but someone else could hop on temporarily without changing log ins. That happens at the library I work as when we’re busy one person is sometimes logged into both stations to make it easy to help two people at once if it gets busy, that way patrons do have to wait the couple of minutes it takes to go through the whole login process. However in this case I think it would be highly unlikely that someone would be using someone else’s log in for long enough to shop on Amazon.

                2. Ego Chamber

                  “BTW – the IT department stinks! While there are hot seat stations at work, why are there no unique sign on IDs for each individual? How in the world can you track computer impropriety?”

                  Same question. O_o Even when I worked retail, they tracked that shit and it was fireable to be signed in as someone else.

              2. Ego Chamber

                “It seems to me like it should be pretty easy for the police to figure this out. Whose Amazon account was used to place the order, for one.”

                I basically live at Amazon and I’m disappointed in myself for not thinking of this. The credit card company can’t see which Amazon account was attached to the charges, but the police (or the employer if they wanted to—although it would be a massive overreach) could ask the intern and the coworker to sign in and go to their order history. That would solve things pretty much immediately.

                Reply
                1. Artemesia

                  Any time I order something not from my computer and to be delivered to another address, the fraud trigger on my credit card is tripped and I get a call or it gets blocked until approved. I have ordered gifts for my son to be delivered to his home in another state and have had this happen.

              3. DArcy

                Given that the coworker has already been charged and convicted of credit card fraud, the facts at hand pretty clearly indicate that the police *already did* fully investigate and figure this out. It’s just that the OP refuses to believe that the coworker is guilty, and has concocted this belief that the intern framed the coworker.

                Reply
        2. Drowning In Paper Anna

          I’m not sure I believe the intern or the employee.

          The employee – Decent, hardworking, church-going, generous with time and talent, volunteering person, right? I know one of those, too. He passed every background check they threw at him until the day he didn’t. Turns out he had a thing for little girls. Lots of people “just couldn’t believe it” because all they saw was the nice guy. OK, way more extreme than this but, still.

          The intern – The intern is a woman, right? So, have any of you ever met a woman who keeps her cards and ID in a jacket pocket rather than a purse when dressed for the office? Have any of you actually seen a jacket appropriate for the office that has a pocket big enough for id and credit cards? Hell, *I* want one of those.

          I think I would fire the employee for jacket theft and recind the job offer for the intern because of the smell.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth the Ginger

            If it’s an outerwear jacket, sure. Not every woman carries a purse.

            I agree with Alison – don’t try to out-detective the actual detectives.

            Reply
            1. Annonymouse

              I sometimes keep my cards in my jacket because:

              1) I was going somewhere close by (coffee shop next door, restaurant/cafe in front of building) and didn’t want or need to bring my whole bag with me

              Or

              2) I did bring my bag and purse but a combination of at least two of the following:
              the bulkiness of my purchase
              line of customers behind me
              speed of transaction
              lack of available and out of the way counter space

              Means I don’t have time to open my bag, find my purse, open purse, return card, close purse and drop it back in my bag before the next person needs to do their transaction.

              So I slip the card into my pocket. I also find jackets are more likely to have a pocket I can slip my credit card into than business pants or skirts.

              Reply
          2. Seven If You Count Bad John

            I keep that stuff in pockets. I don’t carry a purse. Of course, we don’t know what kind of jacket it was–I was picturing a nice outdoor coat with, yes, pockets, not necessarily something you’r wear indoors like a blazer (although honestly my blazers all do have functional pockets.)

            Reply
          3. Natalie

            So, have any of you ever met a woman who keeps her cards and ID in a jacket pocket rather than a purse when dressed for the office?

            Yes, I have. Rescinding the job offer on this basis would be pretty ridiculous.

            Reply
            1. Sterling

              I don’t carry a purse very often. I carry a small key chain wallet and it is often in the picket of my leather jacket that I wear to work. So yes actually I can see how the intern would have done that.

              Reply
            2. KitKat

              I’m one of them! I hate carrying a purse because I have a tendency to put it down and forget about it. Most of my jackets have an inner zippable pocket so I have no compunction about putting my wallet/phone/charging cord in the pocket – one less thing to carry and forget!

              Reply
            3. Lilo

              I also will shove stuff in jacket pockets if I am running out somewhere. I carry a purse but may have my wallet, phone, or train cars in my jacket. It is absurd to not hire someone for that.

              Reply
            4. Mallory Janis Ian

              My daughter wears an army cargo jacket and carries her cards in a wallet in the pocket thereof. Lots of women use wallets instead of purses.

              Reply
                1. littlemoose

                  Well now I can’t decide whether Mike B or MashaKasha wins this post, because both of their comments made me giggle.

            5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              I seriously cannot tell if this comment is real or simply trolling.

              I don’t say that lightly. The suggestion that “all women” keep their wallets in a purse instead of their jacket, and that because of that stereotype the intern must be lying and merits rescission of their job offer, is so patently absurd that I cannot believe it’s sincere.

              Reply
          4. Lisa

            “Jacket” could mean Coat or leather jacket, not necessarily a work jacket. So yes I can see putting a wallet in the pocket.

            Reply
          5. Temperance

            Yes. One of my closest friends doesn’t use purses because she dislikes them.

            It’s not that weird that a woman who doesn’t use a purse would keep her docs in a pocket. Glad to know that apparently being a butch lesbian would make my friend more suspicious if someone stole her shit and lied.

            Reply
            1. TootsNYC

              you don’t have to be a butch lesbian to not like purses.

              Or to see them as easily stolen.

              My MIL carries a purse, but it NEVER has her ID or cards or money in it. It has keys, sometimes. Tissues. Change. Stuff she wouldn’t care about losing if someone stole her bag.

              ID, cards, and paper money go in a men’s wallet in her jacket pocket.

              Reply
          6. Purses are heavy ok?

            Hi, I’m a woman. Nice to meet you. I keep my cards and ID in a holder either a pants pocket or jacket pocket, not in my purse. I’m on a keyed-entry floor and it’s easier to have my ID holder with me than to carry my purse everywhere during the day. I don’t think my habit here is odd or requires a leap of imagination.

            Reply
            1. Specialk9

              Nope. Nope, sorry, your female bits (if applicable) just got changed to male bits. Get a damn purse if you want them back!

              /s

              Reply
              1. Noobtastic

                But, now that Specialk9 has male bits, he’s a man, and if he gets a purse, now, it will be a “man purse,” and his male bits will fall off, not be turned back into their original lady bits.

                I thought everyone knew that.

                Reply
          7. Just Another Techie

            I totally use my jacket or pants pockets for my wallet at work. I hate carrying a purse, so I only buy jackets and pants that have deep enough pockets.

            Reply
          8. Elder Dog

            Yup. Lots of places won’t let you keep your purse with you. You have to leave it in a locker, which is usually a good four minute walk from your desk, making it impractical to go to during breaks. Women often carry a lot in their pockets in places like that, and since most women’s clothes don’t have pockets, a jacket pocket is the logical place to keep your wallet.

            The OP mentioned they don’t have assigned desks so they didn’t know who was on which computer doing the ordering. Those are the kind of places that don’t let women carry their purses with them claiming it’s a security problem.

            Reply
          9. Anonymooooose

            I happen to be a woman who keeps her wallet in her jacket pocket. This includes outerwear and professional suit coats with pockets lined on the inside. So yes. I have.

            Reply
          10. palomar

            Hi. I’m a woman who works in an office and often keeps her wallet in her jacket pocket because carrying a purse can be cumbersome. “Dressed for the office” is not a narrow band of wardrobe options anymore, and “jacket” can mean more than just a cute little kicky “like the boys” menswear inspired blazer.

            Reply
          11. Science!

            I hate carrying purses, so I keep phone and cards in my pockets. I have a small wallet that is just big enough for my ID, insurance card, 3 credit cards and my library card. I always make sure I wear the same jacket for a season because I never remember to switch out my wallet, so if someone took my jacket, it would definitely have all my stuff in it (probably minus my phone).

            Reply
          12. animaniactoo

            Most of my dress pants don’t have back pockets. If it is jacket whether, I am not carrying a pocketbook for the purpose of carrying my wallet, my keys, and my cellphone which are the only things I bring too and from work on a regular basis.

            Therefore, yup. Those go in my jacket pocket which hangs off the back of my chair.

            (just call me data point whatever… when it gets big enough, perhaps it will be enough for you to see it is not so unusual)

            Reply
          13. Not The Droid You Are Looking For

            Umm..I didn’t carry a purse until I was well into my mid-20s and often still simply shove my ID, CC, and some cash into my pocket.

            Last year I went to carrying a very slim card case, instead of my big hulking wallet. It slips easily into my pockets and has everything I need.

            Reply
          14. zsuzsanna

            Sure; I’ll keep an ID and a credit card in my jacket pocket sometimes. More commonly if it’s outerwear – which I’m thinking it was, or the intern would have been wearing the jacket all day. And firing the intern because of the “smell?” Seriously? Innuendo from gossipers who may be more attached to the longterm employee than the promoted intern? I’d be more inclined to fire the rumor-spreaders.

            Reply
          15. halincandenza

            I very often keep my cards and ID in my jacket pocket – I don’t like carrying a purse around for small errands, so I’ll tuck them in there when I go out for lunch or whatever.

            Reply
          16. Drowning In Paper Anna

            My bad, the thing about the what woman doesn’t carry a purse was unnecessarily snarky.

            But, those of you who do carry a wallet in your pocket, do you leave it in your overcoat pocket in the communal area where everyone hangs their coats or hanging on the back of your chair when any0ne can walk through your office? Even if I left the police work to the detectives, I would have questions about the judgement of someone who did that.

            I would really like to know where you get office clothes with pockets like that, because all I can find, I could barely tuck a single key in the pockets.

            And, actually, if I were the intern, I am not sure I would want to work there. I had a big part of sending the “really good guy” in my original post to prison. I still get stuff about “that’s is not how we handle those things around here” from a very small subset of people. A small subset, but enough to make things uncomfortable. I don’t know that I would want to be dealing with all of the jacket thief’s friends.

            Reply
            1. Jessie the First (or second)

              Wait, wait, wait. Because she had her ID and cards in her pocket, you don’t trust her judgment?

              How do you get to that? I went to the bathroom just now, and left my phone on top of my desk and my purse on the floor next to my chair.

              Guess I have terrible judgment and shouldn’t be trusted now? Because I think my coworkers are not thieves?

              Reply
              1. Genny

                I usually carry a purse, but if I’m grabbing hot chocolate (because coffee is gross) with a coworker, I’ll throw my ID, driver’s license, credit card, and debit card into my coat pocket. It’s not at all uncommon for me to forget they’re in there by the time I get back to my desk. The same thing could easily have happened to the intern.

                Reply
              2. Esme Squalor

                I have a lot of trust in my coworkers, and I routinely leave my purse, phone and iPad unattended in my private office on a shelf next to my desk. Over the years of working in my current office, I’ve never had a problem doing that. And if someone ever did steal from me, I would blame the thief, not myself.

                Reply
              3. ChurchLady

                Thank you! I am a church secretary. Other than my boss (the pastor) I am often at work all alone. In the whole church building. I often have to run here and there, in an open building, and I leave my office open, with all my stuff in it. Yes, even to run to the bathroom. While I have few to no coworkers to take my stuff, almost anyone could walk in and do so. So, guess I have poor judgment, too!

                I just do not get the victim blaming mentality all over these comments. “Co-worker” is a PROVEN on video thief.

                I cannot even.

                Reply
              4. aebhel

                Yeah, I often leave my phone (which has my credit card and ID in the case) on my desk when I go to the bathroom. I guess I just… assume my coworkers aren’t thieves?

                Reply
            2. FiveWheels

              Yes, my jacket goes on the back of my chair. Cards are a lot more likely to fall out of my trouser pockets, and I clearly don’t need my driving licence on me to go to the toilet or printer.

              Reply
            3. SarahTheEntwife

              “But, those of you who do carry a wallet in your pocket, do you leave it in your overcoat pocket in the communal area where everyone hangs their coats or hanging on the back of your chair when any0ne can walk through your office?”

              Yes? In the winter I usually have my coat pocket hanging on the back of the office door or over the back of my chair, and my wallet is usually in it, or in my bag that’s sitting next to my desk chair. Our office isn’t a public area and if I have to worry about my coworkers swiping my wallet, I should really find another place to work.

              Reply
            4. McWhadden

              All my Talbots suits have jacket pockets that can fit my wallet. Many of my Ann Taylor suits do, as well. Although Ann Taylor is more hit or miss in the pocket department.

              Most people assume work is safe enough to leave their wallet at the desk. Even if you use a purse people don’t bring their purses every time they go to the bathroom.

              Reply
              1. Lora

                Another vote for Talbot’s. Not super cheap, but good quality fabrics that last a long time.

                I do indeed leave my jacket and massive backpack-o-crap on my desk when I go 30 feet away to the coffee maker or the restroom, because I don’t work surrounded by petty thievery. I work with professionals who generally can afford their own Amazon things. What I cannot leave unattended is actually my drafting pens, foam ice buckets and tool kits, but that’s a bit different. Torque wrenches and Rotring pens are like gold…

                Reply
                1. Clewgarnet

                  This is why my work screwdrivers are pink and sparkly. My coworkers are all too afraid for their masculinity to ‘borrow’ them, and there’s the added bonus that they leave glitter on your hands, so any culprit would be caught pink-handed.

            5. animaniactoo

              Yup, hanging on the back of my chair.

              On the few occasions that I carry a pocketbook, there’s not really a more “secure” place to put that either. There’s right under my desk, and there’s in the drawers that are full and don’t have a working key. Which would also obliviate the idea of just putting my wallet in those drawers when I walked away from my desk (in fact, my co-workers would have more reason to go through my desk drawers than my jacket pockets).

              Essentially, I HAVE to trust my co-workers not to be going through my personal stuff. There is a coat closet but that would actually be less secure in that I am in my seat for most of the day and I would not have line of sight on my jacket in the coat closet AND people have a lot more reason to be in and out of it all day long. So in actuality, hanging off the back of my chair and generally in my presence is the most “secure” space that I actually have for it.

              Office setup is a half-height cube farm basically. Very open and lots of people around to see whatever’s going on. Pretty much the same setup as the OP’s except that we have dividers and assigned desks.

              Reply
              1. LavaLamp

                This. I accidentally left my iPod on my desk over the weekend. It was still there on Monday because I apparently have decent coworkers who don’t go through my things and steal from me.

                Reply
                1. Jersey's Mom

                  I’ve worked at the same 250+ people, cubicle farm of an office for 15 years. I’m out in the field 90% of the time. Never had a problem with theft.

                  Until now — I have a Bath and Body eucalyptus (mini) hand sanitizer next to my computer. Turns out someone has used it up, then refilled it with water so it wouldn’t look like it was used. It costs a buck.

                  Really????

                2. Dr Wizard, PhD

                  Re the hand sanitiser: that’s making me wonder if, rather than using it themselves, they were really bothered by the scent and tried to ‘neutralise’ it, hoping you wouldn’t notice.

                3. Jersey's mom

                  Nope. Since i’m in the office intermittenly (once a week or so), I rarely use it – but noticed that the level of liquid was going down. So I stopped using it completely, and just before it would have been empty – it was suddenly full again.

                  The product has a much thicker viscosity, so it was easy to tell that it had been refilled with water.

            6. TootsNYC

              She doesn’t have an assigned workspace. So in her jacket pocket is probably as secure as anywhere else.

              But this is not a bad point:
              “I don’t know that I would want to be dealing with all of the jacket thief’s friends.”

              This is a good point–and Alisondid point out that the boss needs to know that there are all these people who are anti the intern.

              And if they’re reacting the way you reacted to the details of her story–making up stuff and choosing the most negative possible cast for her actions or habits in order to justify their animus–then the boss needs to know.

              And if I were the intern, I too wouldn’t really want to work with them. I’d be looking as soon as I possibly could.

              Reply
              1. Floundering Mander

                Yeah I think I wouldn’t be that keen on working in this place after one of my new colleagues had already stolen my property. Unfair but it would cast a shadow on everyone else.

                Reply
            7. Forrest

              Are you really blaming the intern for her jacket being stolen? I think it’s kind of an unspoken agreement that you don’t steal from coworkers.

              Reply
            8. neverjaunty

              Wow. Please, stop trying to find reasons to play “there are the sides to every story” / “everybody is at fault” here. It doesn’t matter how different he intern’s card-carrying habits are from yours. The Intern Conspiracy Theory is not only ridiculous and impractical, it comes from an admitted thief.

              Reply
              1. Jessie the First (or second)

                Yes. Devil’s advocate gets really, really old when it veers so sharply into victim-blaming territory here. We are now actually arguing “well, what was she wearing” in this comment section. That’s…. gross. In pretty much any context outside of the Emmys and Oscars.

                Reply
          17. FiveWheels

            I often keep my cards in my jacket pocket. I almost never carry a handbag and my briefcase is unnecessarily bulky if I’m going to a shop. There is nothing suspicious about a woman using pockets.

            Reply
          18. Elder Dog

            Did the intern report her stolen jacket to the police?
            Or did she report her stolen wallet and credit cards?
            It would have to be a very very expensive jacket for the police to investigate around here, but a stolen wallet would bring a quick response from them. I mean, the jacket is just used clothing to the cops.

            I think the OP has had smoke blown at her about what the police were investigating.

            Reply
            1. Ego Chamber

              My read was that the intern reported the credit card fraud to the police (a police report is required by the credit card company if you’re reporting fraud charges btw) after recovering her jacket from the coworker, who was caught on tape by building security.

              Reply
          19. McWhadden

            I am a woman and I keep my wallet in my jacket all of the time. It fits in most of my suit jackets. Never mind outdoor ones.

            When I run out for coffee or lunch I don’t want to lug my purse around.

            I think it’s more likely that women will use jacket pockets for wallets because work pants usually don’t have pockets or deep enough pockets for women. But men’s suits and work pants almost always do.

            Reply
          20. Allison in Alaska

            Nope. I’m a woman with several fancy purses and fashion backpacks (yup!), and I always keep my tiny cardholder wallet in the right pocket of my coat or jacket. I’ve always got work stuff in my bags, so the cards/ID go in the jacket for easy access.

            Reply
          21. Bea

            I didn’t start carrying a purse until I was 27. I used a mans wallet and those fit into any pocket I’ve ever had. So yeah…you’re stretching really thin on your generalization of women here.

            Reply
          22. Fiennes

            I don’t often keep my wallet in a jacket/coat pocket, but it’s happened a handful of times. Mostly it’s been where I was at my office and wanted to run out for a quick bite/errand within walking distance and didn’t want to lug my purse around. If I had a smaller wallet instead of one with a checkbook, I could easily see doing this more regularly.

            Reply
          23. Tammy

            I’m a woman. I ride a motorcycle, and don’t have a car. Most of the time, I do have my iPad or laptop, and when I do, my wallet and stuff are in my backpack. But when I’m just going out to lunch or something and I don’t feel like carrying a lot of stuff, I’ll put my cell phone on its handlebar mount and stuff my debit card, keys, and ID in one of the pockets of my riding jacket.

            “Have any of you ever met a woman who keeps her cards and ID in a jacket pocket rather than a purse when dressed for the office?” is gender stereotyping, and it is so whether the person saying it is a woman or not.

            Reply
          24. TootsNYC

            I know many women who keep their wallet in their jacket or coat pocket!

            Or who slip it in there when they’re in a hurry and then forget it’s there.

            Reply
            1. TootsNYC

              in fact, one thing that annoys me about my niece’s partner is that it bothers him a lot that she doesn’t carry a purse. She had a phone-case wallet that she puts all the cards and money in, and she doesn’t carry other stuff.

              We were leaving their place for dinner, and she was ready to go, wallet/phone in hand, and he said, “Bring a purse.” Why? she asked. “You need a purse.” No, I don’t. “I want to put my charger in it.”
              So she went and got some clearly seldom-used purse and put her wallet in it, and his charger.
              He’s got this rigid idea that “women carry purses.” Period. Without any actual awareness of her as an individual entity.

              Reply
                1. Beaded Librarian

                  stuff, That’s what my brother-in-law does and he refuses to call it anything but a purse. and sometimes he’s carrying his but my sister isn’t carrying anything.

              1. Rusty Shackelford

                More like “he’s got this rigid idea that MY woman should carry a purse so she can haul my stuff.” I wonder how much of the stuff in a typical woman’s purse or suitcase is actually for the benefit of other people. When men complain about women overpacking, I want to ask whose bag has the sunscreen, tissues, snacks, phone charger, tickets, toys, pen, fingernail clippers, cough drops, breath mints, etc. that are going to be used by *everyone*. (Right now my purse contains cough drops and travel-size tissue-with-lotion even though I’m not the one who has a cold…)

                Reply
                1. Ego Chamber

                  Seriously. Niece should tell him to wear a hoodie if he needs extra pockets to carry his crap.

                  Last time I was carrying a purse I realized it weighed like 10 lbs and when I dumped it out I was shocked because I don’t even use any of this stuff. Now I have a cell phone wallet like the niece. I like it.

                2. Cactus

                  Seriously. My family calls me the walking pharmacy because I always have Kleenexes, NSAIDs, hand sanitizer, neosporin, Lotion, etc. I’m prepared for everything that could go wrong.

                3. selenejmr

                  Exactly. We go up north every 2 weeks and my husband complains about my large bag and how heavy it it, while his isn’t full. Of course, mine has the towels, sheets, sunscreen, medicine, laptop, etc. while his doesn’t. He complains that I have so much stuff in my purse, then complains that I don’t have baby wipes in them!

              2. Specialk9

                Wow. Yeah, that’s pissant behavior there. Sir, if you would like to carry a charger, I’m sure your ingenuity will enable you to find a solution, without using your girlfriend as an unpaid Sherpa.

                Reply
              3. Angel

                I am disappointed that she didn’t put his charger and HIS wallet into the purse, followed by handing him the purse. “What? You wanted a purse to put your charger in. You need the purse, you can carry the purse.”

                When I carried a bigger bag I referred to myself as a “packhorse” because I often carried my boyfriend’s wallet/phone/car keys/whatever in the purse. Now that I carry a clutch, I just kind of shrug eloquently. I keep telling him he should find a nice neutral purse to carry instead of his giant backpack or his pockets, but he’s stubborn on this point. Purses don’t “fit his aesthetic”.

                Reply
              4. Floundering Mander

                Ick. This is why my husband carries a backpack when we’re going out on a trip that requires anything like a phone charger. I might occasionally put his stuff in my bag but he doesn’t demand it, and I usually have at least a small bag.

                Reply
          25. Nacho

            ID and credit cards are designed to fit in a wallet, and every coat I own is designed with pockets big enough for a wallet. On the other hand, I’m not a woman, so maybe your jackets don’t have pockets?

            Reply
          26. Susanne

            “The intern – The intern is a woman, right? So, have any of you ever met a woman who keeps her cards and ID in a jacket pocket rather than a purse when dressed for the office?”

            Well, yes. Most young people I know have a wristlet of some sort, that holds keys, some folded bills, and driver’s license / a few credit cards. Those would easily slip into a jacket pocket, whether it’s an indoor blazer type of jacket or an outdoors jacket. Surely you’ve seen them in stores? Not everyone carries around a “full” wallet of the sort that holds a checkbook, zips around, etc. and wouldn’t easily fit into a pocket.

            Reply
          27. Tuxedo Cat

            My friend carries a wallet, and she often sticks it in her jacket. It’s totally plausible, IMO.

            I’ve occasionally carried credit cards in my jacket- forgetfulness sometimes more than anything.

            Reply
          28. michelenyc

            I carry a very small wallet. It holds my ID, debit card, insurance card, my metrocard, and a few other random cards. I don’t always carry my entire handbag. It definitely gets shoved in my jacket pocket all the time.

            Reply
          29. Lauren

            I usually keep my wallet on my person at work, or leave it in the car and just bring one card in. I’d feel awkward carrying my purse around all day but wouldn’t want to leave it unattended (I don’t think it’d be likely to get stolen necessarily but the possibility would still be distracting for me, I tend to be anxious about losing my wallet/keys/etc). I can easily see someone leaving their stuff in a pocket so they have it with them and then either removing the coat without thinking of the wallet or just figuring that a coat isn’t likely to get stolen in the office and not worrying about it the way you might worry about a wallet left out in the open.

            Also I’m sure there are plenty of work appropriate women’s jackets with pockets out there even if they’re harder to find. (Maybe the pockets are what made the jacket such a coveted item haha) I don’t know of one that would accommodate a super large wallet but certainly ones that could fit a slim wallet with a couple credit cards and some cash.

            Reply
          30. Artemesia

            I make it my life’s goal to never have to carry a purse and do not do so 80% of the time. I have an entire wardrobe of jackets, coats, travel shirts, even polartek cardigans that have hidden secure pockets and my wallet is almost always in one of those secure pockets. If it were my jacket hanging on the back of the door in the office, my card case would have been in the jacket and my phone in another one.

            Reply
          31. a1

            I would never carry my ID, cards, and money in a jacket pocket. They are too easy to fall out or be pick pocketed or be forgotten in a jacket or coat. I use my pants pockets. I only by dress slack with pockets for this reason. (and I work where we are business formal, so these aren’t casual pants). And even though I trust all my coworkers, and I work in the non-public spaces of my office (cubicle with medium height walls), I always put my purse in the desk drawer and there is stays all day. For those that leave cards and money and ID in coat pockets, would you leave it over the back of a chair at a restaurant, or coat rack? That just seems dangerous. And then what if you forget your coat somewhere and now you have no $$?

            Obviously, none of this changes the details of the LW, coat thief and credit card fraud, just wanted to add to the anecdotes on purse/pocket use.

            Reply
            1. teclatrans

              You can find dress slacks that allow you to use the pockets without totally ruining the line? That has not been my experience, sadly.

              Reply
              1. a1

                Yes. It’s not easy, but I do find them. I’ll even buy them if I don’t immediately need them, because finding them is rare, and I can then switch to them when the current one(s) wear out. I hate pants and skirts without pockets.

                Reply
            2. Floundering Mander

              Totally depends on the design of your jacket or coat, though. My dressy pants have teeny tiny pockets that are too small to securely hold my keys, but my suit jacket has an inside pocket. I have two winter coats: one has huge deep pockets, the other has pockets that zip. Unless I’m on a trip where I want my passport, I use a tiny little card case/change purse for a wallet, which easily fits into the pockets.

              Reply
              1. a1

                External pockets with zippers are still easier to be pick pocketed. It’s that it’s not against your body, someone real good with slight of hand can unzip and grab quite quickly. Front pants pockets, under the coat is the most secure (aside from a money belt). But that is getting quite far from being in an office.

                Reply
                1. Floundering Mander

                  Well in truth I usually wear jeans so this is kind of a moot point for me, but my coat with the zippered pockets is one of those packable down coats so it actually does fit fairly closely. But in any case, if I stick my wallet in my coat, zip up the pocket, and drape it over the back of my desk chair it’s not very likely that it will fall out accidentally and get lost.

          32. Alienor

            I carry a purse and still put things in my pockets – for example, if I were going to get coffee, I might stick my wallet in my jacket pocket so I didn’t have to take my purse, then just leave it there for the rest of the day. I don’t think it’s that big a stretch of the imagination, and certainly not a reason to suspect the intern of lying and/or trying to frame the co-worker.

            Reply
          33. Kickin' Crab

            Adding my name to the chorus of women who keep their wallet in a jacket pocket, even when I have a larger purse/laptop bag for work. I’ve never met a jacket pocket so small that my wallet doesn’t fit. Pants pockets, on the other hand….

            Reply
          34. Time Bomb of Petulance

            Actually, yes. I hate carrying a purse at work, so whenever possible, I stick my cards and ID in my pocket(s). All of my work jackets (and even some of my work dresses!) have pockets I do this with.

            Reply
          35. sap

            I am a woman who loves purses and also carries a briefcase to work. I keep my wallet in my jacket *specifically while I am at work* and not during off hours because I do not want to carry a purse and also a briefcase, and I do not want to bring my briefcase with me to the coffee cart/nail salon/other floors in my security card building.

            This is such a bizarre sexist cmoment that boils down to “I don’t believe a crime victim about the severity of the crime because she would be deviating from what I THINK women should do if she is telling the truth.” If the only reason you have for accusing someone of lying is that they are a woman, keep it to yourself.

            Reply
          36. Charisma

            I very explicitly do. I hate being attached to a purse/bag with a passion. And I’m a city girl. I keep a small wallet that fits in either my pants or jacket/coat pocket and my purse/bag is for carrying everything else. I also see purses as a target for thieves when I am traveling on mass transit or in other crowded public spaces every day. I’m not even particularly tomboyish or anything. But I’ve witnessed more than my fair share of purse grabs over the years or had friends get their stuff lifted at bars/concerts/the gym. I’m not saying its an epidemic, but I have just become a person who prefers not to carry excess stuff.

            I actually did get my bag stolen once. I just had to laugh though because all the guy really got was my stinky recently used gym clothes! All my valuables were still on my physical self. I did get all my gym clothes back… but not the tote bag. Go figure.

            Reply
          37. Noobtastic

            I think you’re getting “jacket” and “blazer” confused, here.

            An outerwear jacked (perhaps a fancy leather jacket, with zip-up pockets?) would actually be an ideal place for a woman dressed for work (in a dress without pockets) to keep her wallet, lipstick and a few other small items, and not even need a purse, at all.

            My sister stopped using purses for years, because she had pockets! And yes, she worked in an office.

            Your stereotype about women’s fashion is enough to make you rescind a job offer? Of a woman who was obviously the victim of AT LEAST one crime (the confirmed jacket theft), because you don’t believe any woman would use pockets for her wallet? Seriously?

            Wow.

            Reply
    5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      This is insane. I can’t understand the basis for concluding the intern is lying and put together an elaborate revenge scheme when OP’s coworker stole a jacket from an intern and was caught red-handed doing so. . . . I don’t know if she ever apologized, but it doesn’t sound like she did.

      Seriously, who does that?? She didn’t ask the intern where the intern bought it so she could buy the same item? She wanted it so badly she *had* to steal it from the person at the bottom of the power-hierarchy? OP, why does your coworker deserve a level of loyalty that requires suspension of belief? If her attorney is advising her that a trial would not work in her favor, it’s because there’s enough evidence to lead someone to believe that she most likely committed credit card theft. [Aside: I’m not saying plea agreements signal guilt, but imagine this situation from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about your coworker and then factor in the significant, unconscious bias that many have against people who are accused of serious crimes.]

      Let the police and attorneys sort out the criminal culpability. Do not put your reputation on the line to accuse a crime victim of lying when all the evidence to date indicates otherwise. If your intern did in fact stage an elaborate Amazon ruse, it will come out.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        I do feel like that the OP is finding it hard to see past her personal history with these people; maybe seeing how objective parties respond to the situation will be illuminating.

        (Did I miss where the staffer was fired for this? Because if she’s still there, it’s pretty outrageous to suggest the person caught on film stealing gets to stay but the person who’s the victim of the theft shouldn’t have a job.)

        Reply
        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          It sounds like she hasn’t been fired! …which also blows my mind. Even if there isn’t a criminal conviction for the broader issue, I’d be really surprised if there were no discipline for stealing the intern’s jacket since that part of the story is pretty verifiable. And if I were the intern, I would think my new employer was incoherent.

          Reply
            1. Barney Stinson

              I would not want to work for a company that retained the person who stole my jacket. On film. The company is now beyond weird, and I’m working next to a person who stole from me.

              Nope. Nope. Nope.

              Reply
            2. la bella vita

              My thoughts exactly – I hope the intern gets another job offer and can turn this one down. Who wants to work someplace where people are gossiping about you and questioning your integrity because you were the *victim of a crime*???

              Reply
          1. Candy

            I once worked at a clothing store where a manager stole thousands of dollars over a period of time from the store (she was skimming money from the nightly deposit) and she wasn’t fired or charged. The owner kept her on and deducted money from her paycheque as a way of getting the money back. It caused SO MUCH gossip and bad feelings amongst the rest of the staff, like lots of people sarcastically saying stuff like, “oh so we can just take money from the till now?” Keeping staff like this on is a crazy bad idea but it happens

            Reply
            1. Chinook

              “The owner kept her on and deducted money from her paycheque as a way of getting the money back.”

              As hard as it is for coworkers to swallow, that actually makes sense from the owner’s perspective. How else are they going to get the missing money back? Though, I doubt that woman was stilling doing the nightly deposits after that.

              Reply
              1. SirTechSpec

                >How else are they going to get the missing money back?

                Um, a court order? Presumably if the manager agreed to repay the money, it’s because they admitted/there was compelling evidence of the theft.

                Reply
                1. Candy

                  Yeah, she admitted it. She claimed she had a shopping addiction and had something like 5 maxed out credit cards to pay off. She did always wear really great clothes

                2. Colette

                  Most people don’t steal money to put it in the bank, or to create a room full of coins like Scrooge McDuck. They steal money to spend it, and they can’t repay what they don’t have.

                3. Cercis

                  Enforcing a court order can be difficult, though. They have to have assets that can be garnished, which many people don’t.

                  I mean, it’s not a choice I’d make, but I can understand why someone would. I can also understand why other employees would resent it.

                4. Marty

                  No court order, really? And here I thought that the court would be happy to garnish your wages to ensure payment…

                5. neverjaunty

                  Without a court order for restitution, all you have is her pinky-swearing to pay it back.

                  Plus, you never know what will happen. People come into money sometimes.

                6. Jessica

                  You have to have wages for the court to garnish, and having a conviction for theft on one’s record would (rightfully) get a person dropped from the candidate pool at practically any job that would check for that.

                  So, as Byzantine as it seems, keeping the employee and having them work off the debt probably *would* be more of a sure way to receive repayment than firing them, getting a conviction, setting up a garnishment, and hoping they get a job somewhere else.

                  That’s a patient owner, though, or else it was a lot of money that the owner can’t afford to write off.

            2. McWhadden

              I would fire that person but, still, the company is the one being wronged and it’s ultimately their decision to make.

              In this case, she wronged another employee. Not the company itself.

              And they never would have seen a dime if she had been arrested. Courts can order what they like but if she doesn’t have the money it’s meaningless.

              Reply
        1. Infinity Anon

          Yeah, the power dynamics make this even worse. The OP has bliners on. “The staff member is credible, she has no history of trouble working here, has no criminal record and is a good person who volunteers and is active with her church and her family.” She is NOT credible (she stole from an intern), she does now have a history of making trouble at work (who steals from their coworkers while everyone is in a meeting?), she does now have a criminal record (she admitted to stealing the jacket), and she is not a good person because if she was she would not be stealing at all! Whether she volunteers, goes to church or has a family is irrelevant. What is at questions is not whether she would steal because the answer to that is yes. All that is being debated is the extent of her crime, and the intern seem much more credible.

          Reply
          1. Chinook

            “She is NOT credible (she stole from an intern), ”

            As bad as stealing is, in my mind it is compounded by the fact that it was an intern – so someone who is making less money than her and probably is less able to replace said item (though stealing from the rich is also wrong). And it isn’t like the coworker needed it to survive the cold (as in I can rationalize someone stealing my winter sweater when it is -20 out because maybe they really needed it but now I am the one stuck freezing on my way home without that extra layer). Basically, the coworker has no reason to do this except that she liked it.

            And add me to the voices snarking at “she goes to church.” Any good Catholic can tell you the lines are long for the confessional because we are all sinners (and a good confessor will tell you to return the jacket and apologize as well as do your 100 Hail Marys – restitution is required for forgiveness).

            Reply
        2. Kindling

          Also, it’s possible the intern isn’t even getting paid to work there – so you’re stealing from a coworker who doesn’t even get a pay cheque while you do… which you could use to pay for a jacket.

          Reply
    6. The IT Manager

      Yes! Stealing a jacket is a minor, minor crime compared to identity theft/credit card theft. The co-worker is admitting to the piece of the crime that has concrete evidence (video of her with the jacket) and denying the part you can’t prove and is also a much bigger deal with presumably bigger consequences including time in jail.

      I don’t understand why you believe your coworker over the intern. She indeed does have a criminal history – stealing a jacket. The coworker is a proven thief whereas you didn’t mention anything negative about the intern other than things the thief told you which make the thief look less guilty. LW, you seem really gullible and wanting to believe your coworker. Your boss and HR are doing the right thing. You and your other coworkers need to rethink your assessment of the former intern.

      Side note: Going to church doesn’t make a person a “good” person.

      Reply
    7. The Other Dawn

      Exactly. Being active in your church, a volunteer, etc. doesn’t really mean anything.

      We had a bank manager who was very active in his church, was a family man, volunteered lots with the local shelter, and had an unblemished work history. I caught him on video taking $5,000.00 in cash that a customer accidentally left behind on the teller counter (due to the setup it was difficult for a teller to notice this, especially since it was at an empty teller station). His friend was visiting the branch and found it laying there. He then called the manager over, who was behind the teller line at the time, and he slid the money to the manager. It was *almost* out of the frame, but I caught the corner of a $50 bill on video. (And them laughing and smiling to each other…) He later confessed to it, but only after we made it known that we had it on video and that we were calling the police.

      Reply
    8. animaniactoo

      The fact that there’s not criminal record merely means that nothing has been recorded YET.

      It is HUGELY likely that there are a number of these kinds of small incidents of “just a jacket” (or a dish, or a book) within her church and social circle that have been smoothed over and weren’t big enough to report AND that there was some reasonable benefit of the doubt for “accidents”. It may even be that there are a few similar minor incidents even within your office that people have shrugged off and may not even be connecting the dots on now.

      It’s very possible this is the first time there’s been concrete proof of her thievery.

      At this point, I would actually bet big money on somebody in her family finding the wallet and ordering stuff in her name for themselves. Because it seems she’s at least been smart enough up until now to avoid having her name attached. So that does seem like a misstep – but just because she claims that it was the intern, doesn’t mean it was the intern even if it wasn’t her.

      Reply
      1. Daffodil

        Agreed with you about past incidents with this coworker that have been overlooked or smoothed over. If I were the one making employment decisions here, I’d be asking around about that.

        Reply
      2. Stranger than fiction

        Unfortunately, I have a family member that is a kleptomaniac and your description reminded me of her. It started as a child just palming things that belonged to friends- toys, hair clips, etc. then escalated as she got older to clothes, jewelry, anything lying around , especially of course money, etc. then as an adult got worse with credit card fraud, breaking into people’s cars or houses etc. Got fired from a couple jobs due to missing tips, and now is serving a long jail sentence. You’d never ever know it or think it if you met her, she’s totally charming and has an innocent look.

        Reply
        1. Hills to Die on

          That progression it what leads me to believe that this isn’t the first time the coworker has stolen. Walking out of the door with someone else’s jacket — a person you know and pretend to be friendly with on a daily basis! — takes nerve.

          Reply
          1. MashaKasha

            Yeah, stealing a coworker’s outerwear when she’s in a meeting, in an open office area no less, isn’t something I’ve ever seen or heard of.

            Reply
          2. Laura

            Right? Put it on where security cameras aren’t watching, put your own jacket on over the top and walk out to your car with it. Take them both off, put them together in the car. Very easy. This person thinks she’s immune.

            Reply
        2. LavaLamp

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought true kleptomaniacs only took things of little to no value like paperclips, or erasers.

          Reply
          1. Natalie

            No, the key feature of kleptomania is that the stealing is compulsive, not driven by necessity like Jean Valjean or whatever. The items stolen could very well have value, but they are being stolen for some reason other than that value.

            Reply
          2. Falling Diphthong

            It’s about not having economic value to the thief–they might pocket red things, and have a big closet o’ red things at home, from red folders to ruby necklaces. A variation on stealing for the thrill of it rather than for any economic gain.

            Credit card or identity theft does not seem to come under kleptomania–those have economic value. Unless you could steal literal plastic cards and never use them.

            Reply
      3. Falling Diphthong

        I thought of the jacket thief’s family members for the credit cards, too. Though not if it was on a work computer…

        OP, you are presenting two scenarios:
        1) Intern notices jacket is missing, correctly intuits that it was coworker (and that there will be video evidence?), races to a computer to order some things from Amazon in coworker’s name.
        2) Coworker notices a wallet in the jacket, removes the credit card, and quickly orders some things on Amazon before the cards can be reported stolen.

        I think you’re overestimating the criminal mastermindedness of the intern.

        Reply
        1. Jesca

          Yeah, that is what I was thinking too given the information that we have. And really, if my jacket went missing at work, I would have just assumed I lost the thing. Therefore, yeah, as animaniatic points out, these crimes could have gone unnoticed for a long time. It was just this time she picked the wrong person to target. This could have also been the first time she unintentionally snagged a credit card and decided to hop on that as well.

          In any event, all these scenarios sound a lot more plausible than the intern recognizing her jacket is gone, notifying everyone, watching surveillance video, and then quickly setting up the person who stole her jacket. And anyway you say the intern made it look like the other person bought this stuff with her card using her actual name. Did you ever think that maybe she used the credit card under her own amazon account by mistake (as apps and browsers will save and auto login to accounts) and that you are just not privy to all of the investigative details?

          Reply
          1. Falling Diphthong

            I’m still missing a thin black sweater after vacation. It was my go-to travel sweater, too.

            But if I had some reason to KNOW a jacket was on the back of my chair at 10:00, and now at 11:00 it is gone, you can bet I’d be following up immediately with everyone in the vicinity. Sometimes “I think I had it… Thursday?” isn’t what the jacket owner is thinking. I get that you can get pretty far by assuming that mindset… and odds are coworker did.

            Reply
            1. Annonymouse

              Yeah, and a jacket is less like a jumper in that if I wear a jumper to work I might hang I think over my chair, put it in my bag or empty desk drawer (the one for files I never use).

              A jacket – I’m assuming business/blazer type I can really only hang on the back of my chair and it’s a something you’d notice missing pretty soon after getting back to your desk.

              (If it’s navy or another cool colour snd you on a black chair you’re going to notice I think straight away. Black on black would take longer.)

              Also if it’s cold/windy enough that I need a jacket over a jumper or cardigan you can bet I’m going to be really clear about remembering I brought it in today.

              (To be fair I DO live in Australia so jacket weather I see more noticeable for me because it’s normally not needed.)

              Reply
        2. LSP

          Plus, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for the coworker to plead out, rather than go to trial. First, because that’s what the vast majority of people do, and secondly, because as the value of the amount stolen increases, as does the potential sentence. If she went to trial, she could get the book thrown at her (especially if the judge is, say, a church-goer who is annoyed that someone is cheapening his beliefs by trying to use them as a defense), so it makes perfect sense to, on a first offense, to take a deal.

          Maybe your coworker is indeed a good person with some impulse control problems. Maybe it was the start of a crime spree. It really doesn’t matter. She admits to stealing, and that’s enough to destroy her credibility for most people.

          Reply
      4. Paxton Sparrow

        I agree completely with this point – I actually have an entry level associate right now who I am fighting with Senior Management and HR about this exact issue. She has caused issues with every team she has been on but has the support of one senior executive so no one will file a grievance meaning she has an unblemished record. She has had 4 issues escalated this year including removal from 2 different project teams due to behavior and is unofficially blacklisted from multiple project teams.

        Reply
      5. Collarbone High

        True, and despite what the signs in the fitting rooms say, stores don’t always press charges against shoplifters. My sister was a pretty prolific shoplifter in middle school and the few times she was caught, the managers decided it wasn’t worth the trouble for a $20 item. (I’m sure being a pretty, middle-class white girl helped.) But “she has no criminal record” doesn’t necessarily equal “she’s never stolen anything.”

        Reply
      6. Anion

        Yes, this isn’t a “She was desperate so she stole a loaf of bread to feed her starving family,” situation. This is someone who thinks stealing–from people she knows!–is an acceptable way to get things she wants. I would also be surprised if this was the first time she ever stole anything. You don’t reach the point where you’ll steal a co-worker’s jacket out of desperation; you reach it out of entitlement.

        Reply
    9. Jaydee

      The problem here is that the LW is dividing the world into “good people” and “bad people.” People who commit crimes are “bad people.” Co-worker has always been nice, never had problems before, is active in her church and family. She is a “good person.” Therefore it is very difficult for LW to believe that she could have committed a serious crime. Because that would mean she is a “bad person.”

      The world isn’t divided like that. People aren’t divided into “good people” and “bad people.” People who do bad things can also do very good things. And people who do good things can also do very bad things.

      Reply
      1. Rusty Shackelford

        And if there are *good people,* those who steal jackets don’t belong in that category, no matter how often they volunteer or go to church.

        Reply
      2. Elizabeth the Ginger

        Very much this. She could be a thief and still be a wonderful and kind dog owner, for example, or a wonderful and sympathetic volunteer at the local nursing home, or a super-efficient file clerk. It’s not all good or all bad. Just like there can be people who never steal or cheat or lie but are only mediocre at their jobs and very dull to be around socially.

        The bad in this case, though – even just the admitted bad of taking the jacket, regardless of the credit card situation – means she should no longer be employed by this company. Stealing at work (barring some extreme Jean Valjean “loaf of bread to feed my starving nephew” kind of thing) should be automatic grounds for dismissal. It doesn’t mean she needs to be tarred and feathered universally and never have a job anywhere again. But this bridge is burned.

        Reply
        1. Anion

          Yes, I know someone who occasionally shoplifts from the grocery store, because said person is very poor and sometimes literally can’t afford that package of lunchmeat or butter, but (obviously) still needs to eat to survive. I don’t consider that person a bad person. But that person would also never, ever steal another person’s actual belongings; I could leave $50 on that person’s couch by accident, and they’d call me immediately to tell me I left it there.

          You don’t steal a jacket that you really like out of desperation, you steal it out of entitlement and covetousness. That’s very different from shoplifting so you can eat. (I’m not advocating shoplifting here, I’m just saying I see a difference between what my friend does and what the person in the letter did.)

          Reply
        2. Annonymouse

          Hitler was an animal loving vegetarian.

          You can be really moral and “good” in some areas of life but atrocious in others.

          One does not excuse the other.

          Reply
      3. PersephoneUnderground

        I love this comment so much- people show you if they’re “good” or “bad” through the sum of their actions, and it’s rarely perfectly simple. I always think of a co-worker who was always bossy and argumentative with me (unprofessionally and irrationally unpleasant, got mad when I did what the boss wanted when she wanted me to do something different, not a we just didn’t get along problem), but who took really good care of her elderly mother who had a serious illness. She’s just such a perfect example of “people are complicated” and rarely perfectly good or bad people.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          This.
          And the complexity just piles on. Some times good people do things that some people but not everyone thinks are bad things. Conversely, when bad people do good things we can’t figure that one out either.

          What is boils down to is that sometimes we totally misread a person and it’s shocking to find out that there are many things going on with that individual.

          While we and OP will never know for certain what happened to the credit cards, I think that OP will find there is more to this story in months and years to come. And that can include more poor behavior by either the coworker or the intern, or both parties.

          Reply
        2. So Very Anonymous

          I kind of think of this as the “Professor Snape” theory of goodness, and it’s one of the things I really liked about the Harry Potter books.

          Reply
    10. Runner

      It makes me sick to my stomach how many readers here used that one comment to bash going to church. I don’t even go to church.

      Reply
      1. Jesca

        Yeah, I agree with you that and I was a born and raised agnostic who rarely participates with others in the religion I have chosen as an adult. Its one of those things people have decided are “not insensitive” to harp on.

        Reply
        1. Temperance

          100% disagree. By the LW mentioning that the thief is a church-goer, she was letting out a dog whistle to let us know who she considers good and trustworthy: Christians.

          Reply
          1. caryatis

            Definite flavor of religious discrimination in this story. I suspect part of the reason OP is so biased against the intern is that the intern is not a church-goer.

            Reply
          2. Annonymouse

            Exactly.
            This forms a huge part of OPs justification here.

            Goes to church = incapable of bad deeds
            Doesn’t go to church = must be guilty.

            All we are doing is pointing out that assumption is erroneous.

            We aren’t saying “all church goers are guilty, lying sinners – of course she’s the bad guy!” rather that there are people who do both good and bad things regardless of religion.

            Reply
      2. Rainy, not-PI

        I haven’t seen anyone bashing going to church. I have seen a lot of people refuting or ridiculing the idea that “going to church” must necessarily mean “good person”.

        Reply
        1. RabbitRabbit

          This. It’s not an indictment of going to church, it’s the thought that being “church-going” automatically means that you couldn’t be a ‘serious’ thief.

          Reply
        2. The Annoyingly Alliterative Athiest

          Yes, this. As an uncloseted atheist, I routinely get told I am less moral than people who go to church regularly, so there is a strong urge to push back when someone declares that church-going = good person. It has been my experience that going to church doesn’t make you a good person any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

          Reply
          1. Jesca

            Hmm. I find that odd. I live in an area that is pretty close-nit and mostly Christian church goers. And sure maybe once every couple years I run into a person who criticizes me for not going. But definitely not regularly and definitely not overtly hostile about it. Maybe people are just different in different areas?

            But maybe my view is skewed as I was not raised with any religion and taught to respect all regions as a child, and therefore am not sensitive to being “pushed”.

            Reply
              1. Rainy, not-PI

                My sister lived in a town where asking for the bacon to be left off sandwiches resulted in a waitress calling her a “dirty Jew” to her face.

                Reply
                1. fposte

                  Ah, okay. To be fair I don’t get grief about it much more often than you state either, but I wouldn’t expect to given the university town culture; I definitely know people who get more.

              2. Anion

                I wouldn’t necessarily agree that it “happens a lot more in the U.S. than in some other countries.” Or rather, maybe it does happen more than in *some* other countries, but there are also a lot of other countries where it happens an awful lot. I’ve never had anyone in the US try to shame me for not going to church, but it happened more than once in the UK. (The UK is also the only place where I was ever handed an anti-evolution pamphlet or regularly heard anti-Semitic comments, but I don’t take that to mean anything about the UK as a whole; it just means there are nuts and anti-Semites everywhere in the world.)

                Reply
            1. Rainy, not-PI

              It’s great that your area isn’t like that. There are a lot of areas that are like that. You can find it “odd”, but you can’t find it “untrue”.

              *BTW, the term you’re looking for is “close-knit” as in a tightly-manufactured fabric, not “close-nit” like lice eggs very near one another.

              Reply
            2. animaniactoo

              fwiw, I was raised atheist and I’ve been dealing with the attitude in various forms all my life.

              It has gotten considerably less (and there’s been a strong pushback imo to the point that I almost feel like it’s oppositional flashback for the previous saturation) in media/pop culture, but in general the bent has always been that it’s acceptable to be non-practicing, being agnostic means you’re searching and will probably eventually acknowledge the glory of God. Being straight up atheist means you have *no* beliefs and nothing to keep you centered/moral/ethical.

              To the point where I have *developed* a defined stance about my near-atheism* that says “I choose to treat those around me well because they deserve to be treated so. If I get to the end of my life and I discover there is a God, I hope that how I have treated people will matter much more than my belief in him/her/it.” I would not have had to develop that if I hadn’t gotten enough flak about it in my life in one form or another.

              *near-atheism. My belief is that there is something or someone out there, simply because I am not egotistical enough to believe we are the highest form of life ever to have evolved. I believe that they *may* occasionally do something to affect our world, but I doubt that they take much interest in our day to day lives.

              Reply
              1. Julia

                Wouldn’t that make you agnostic?

                And I totally agree that if there is a God, I hope they’d just me on my behavior instead of how often I worshiped them.

                Reply
                1. animaniactoo

                  No, because I don’t really believe in a God per se. I don’t believe there’s a heaven waiting for me or a hell. What I believe would probably be more along the lines of an alien race that’s more advanced than ours. I haven’t really fleshed it out at all beyond the vague notion that there’s something or someone who may possibly affect something at some point for reasons that we would know nothing about. It’s probably The Doctor.

          2. Artemesia

            My first mother in law made quite a point of the fact that a person who was not ‘churched’ could not be a good person because why would someone have any reason to be good if there was no God to provide consequences of not being. I consider this a very primitive view of good and evil but it is pretty common. Being an atheist pretty much disqualifies one for political life in this country for this reason. And this is why so many politicians pretend to be Christians who very obviously are not.

            Reply
            1. Layla

              I’ve always found that quite a frightening point of view. If they didn’t feel they were being ‘watched’ – if they lost their religion – would they suddenly run amuk?

              Reply
              1. Floundering Mander

                Me too. I don’t find the idea that I must behave or else there will be consequences at all compelling. Rather, I have no interest in doing the majority of things that are bad. I don’t refrain from murder because I’m concerned about punishment, I just don’t have any desire to kill anyone.

                Reply
              2. sap

                There have been really interesting studies showing that people behave better when there are pictures of people watching them in their immediate vicinity. Sour weird.

                Reply
                1. Floundering Mander

                  I can see that. I’ve experienced it myself, in that I felt like someone could see me trying to sneak the cookie out of the jar as a kid. But that’s still extremely minor stuff. It might stop me from doing things I have decided not to do, like eat that extra piece of candy or put off doing the laundry for one more day. But it’s not preventing me from stealing other people’s property, because I have no desire to do that in the first place.

            2. Annonymouse

              How about “My reason to be good is because I respect other people and myself and want to live in a world where all are equal and treated well”?

              As opposed to

              **”Invisible omnipresent force is the only thing holding me back from a crime spree. I have no respect or care for anyone but myself and I have no desire to positively contribute to the world because I am already “good”.”

              **Please note those is not a view I ascribe to all people of all religions. People with or without religion can be either of these mindsets.

              People without religion for them it’s more about people at large finding out about their jeratude or people they hope to impress hence why they do bad things to those “less” than them.

              Reply
      3. strawberries and raspberries

        We’re not bashing going to church. We’re bashing the idea that going to church makes you instantly good and credible even when you have done something very much not good on camera, and the implication embedded in that assumption, which is that not going to church makes you instantly bad and not credible.

        Reply
      4. Perse's Mom

        I don’t see anyone bashing church attendance. Commenters are, rightfully, bothered that the OP is using the thief’s church-going ways as some kind of moral defense.

        Reply
      5. Ellen N.

        I don’t see it as readers bashing going to church. I see it as readers pointing out that being a churchgoer is not an indication of moral purity.

        Reply
      6. Lilo

        No one is bashing going to church, just the assumption that someone is a good person because they go to church. Key difference.

        Reply
      7. Temperance

        No one here has “bash(ed) going to church”. Several of us have pointed out the fallacy behind the “churchgoer = good person” idea.

        Reply
      8. MashaKasha

        I don’t see that (but will admit that I’m biased), what I see is the bashing of “she goes to church, so there’s no way she could’ve done something like this, so the victim made the whole story up and should be fired”. That’s one hell of a stretch.

        Reply
        1. Jesca

          But to point out as well that she also says she regularly volunteers and seems nice. Yet these facts are glossed over as just about everyone is focused on the “but she goes to church” statement. That is kind of what I think people would take umbrage with.

          Reply
          1. strawberries and raspberries

            Okay, but “seems nice” and “volunteers” still does not trump “on CCTV actually stealing something and then having her name on purchases made with a stolen credit card.” It is significant that the OP added the “goes to church” part, because as I said before, the tacit implication of that is “not going to church = more likely to steal.” In some parts of the country, not going to church can have significant social ramifications. Hell, I’m in a highly diverse part of the country and I have still been in professional situations where not going to church paints a glare over decisions I’ve made or beliefs I have.

            It’s nice that you were raised to respect all religions equally, but when your religion is regularly minimized and marginalized and you lose social currency because you don’t participate in freaking church, I would say it’s pretty legitimate to call out someone’s naive use of church attendance as rationale to excuse someone’s criminal behavior.

            Reply
          2. SarahTheEntwife

            The church bit seems like a particularly egregious thing since there is nothing particularly virtuous about going to church. Volunteering is at least theoretically a reason you might have to think that someone is a good person. Going to church…means that someone is religious, or enjoys the community. There’s nothing innately good or bad about that and yet it gets used as a proxy for morality.

            Reply
            1. Rusty Shackelford

              Yes, that’s what I was thinking. She’s a nice person (as far as the OP knows), she volunteers, these are good things she does that are a benefit to other people. “Goes to church” doesn’t have that factor.

              Reply
              1. Jesca

                It says she is “active with her church” not that she simply attends. What I have found from those who attend church, is that this has a different meaning than “goes to church”. Being active in church means they typically handle volunteer activities, do community outreach programs, run after school programs – those sorts of things. So it was like hand in hand with volunteering. At this is how it is viewed in my area from what I have been told.

                Reply
                1. MashaKasha

                  It varies in my area. When I was a church member, the only person in my church that had ever actively hit on me, was active in church, as were his wife, parents, and in-laws. A close friend of mine was active in church and in charge of the outreach. This friend was also regularly being piled on by other active church members, parish council members etc. because my friend’s politics was the opposite of theirs and friend didn’t bother hiding it. In my experience, “he/she is very active in their church” can mean a whole spectrum of things; not all of them good.

          3. Anion

            Exactly. No one is talking abut being shamed for not volunteering or telling stories about volunteers who’ve done awful things.

            Reply
      9. Susana

        Runner, it’s not that – nothing wrong with going to church, of course. It’s the OP’s premise that going to church means this co-worker is somehow morally superior.
        The more I think about this (including the fact that OP says the whole team has issues with this intern), the more I wonder if the team doesn’t like having interns in general, or maybe resents that the interns sailed into staff jobs when maybe the team didn’t.

        Reply
      10. Susanne

        Runner, no one even remotely bashed going to church. We bashed the sickeningly-sweet and so-completely-untrue sentiment that whether someone goes to church is some kind of marker of being a good person.

        Reply
      11. Nacho

        I’m not seeing people bashing church, but bashing the idea that “going to church” is some kind of a character strength that should give someone extra benefit of the doubt in situations like this.

        Reply
      12. ArtK

        Nobody is bashing going to church. They (we) are disagreeing with the idea that going to church is a guaranteed marker of honesty and virtue. Assuming someone is good simply because they go to church is a bad, bad mistake.

        Reply
      13. Anion

        No, I see where you’re coming from. There seems to be–in general, not necessarily here or just here–this sort of meanspirited delight when someone who goes to church or is religious or conservative “falls” or turns out to be a bad or criminal person, and I don’t see that kind of delight in other situations. Someone posted a comment on a recent thread about the super-“progressive” school in which they work (or a spouse works, or they live near, I can’t recall the exact details and don’t want to point fingers anyway) and how apparently the staff there are anti-Semitic (among other things) and the parents who pride themselves on being “progressive” and liberal chased some homeless people out of the neighborhood, while applauding themselves for how “woke” they are. Another person discussed a similar situation at a non-profit, where all kinds of nastiness takes place among those who pat themselves on the back for being caring and open-minded. I didn’t see a lot of comments about how gross those particular hypocrisy(ies) is, or how typical they may be, or how those same people probably call those who disagree with them “Nazis.”

        (To make clear: the person who posted the comment was not saying s/he agreed with those people, and the person posting about the non-profit was clearly unhappy with the situation. I’m not saying and do not mean to imply *in any way* that anyone commenting here is that type of person or agrees with that sort of attitude or behavior. I’m just saying I see where you’re coming from; we’re quick to jump on the “People who go to church act all holy but aren’t!” bandwagon while giving people who are hypocrites in other major, arguably worse, ways a pass. And I’m not religious or a church-goer myself, either.)

        Reply
        1. Annonymouse

          Oh they don’t get a pass.

          It’s much easier to point out to them

          “You think you’re a good person but your actions make you an @$$hole. Would you like to revise that?”

          “Um …. I guess you’re right.”

          Because even I feel they bring up other actions their current ones are still there for us to see.

          Also there is the way society gives you a pass for being religious over being good.

          Religion is something you live by that you aren’t supposed to change or go against on a whim. It’s a lifestyle, a commitment and a part of character.

          Non religious “good” actions or character traits don’t carry that same weight because these clearly are choices I can change at any time without serious consideration or just cause.

          I’m not religious but I’m *kind, helpful and friendly. If I was caught stealing it would technically be less shocking than if my very Christian coworker did I think because she has an obvious moral code to guide her. I don’t.

          And those people you mention are ridiculous and I hope they get a karmic comeuppance.

          *these are words others use to describe me frequently. I have no self perception so I’ll take them at their word.

          Reply
          1. Anion

            See, I guess I’m just confused about what “society” others are seeing that I’m not, because I see, for example, someone like Joss Whedon held up as some paragon of awesome, intelligent, “woke”ness, and lauded for being feminist, but he regularly makes viciously nasty comments about the appearance of women whose opinions he disagrees with, preyed on young actresses in a sexual-predator way, and treated a pregnant actress abominably simply because she had the gall to get pregnant. But I don’t see anyone calling him out; he gets a pass because he’s considered “virtuous” for espousing the “right kind of ideals.” That’s the kind of society I see: one that gives a pass to the most vile kinds of behavior because someone says the right things. I don’t see anyone getting a pass for such things on the basis that they’re religious; if anything I think people are more eager to see their actions as bad.

            That might simply be what I look at vs. what other people do, of course, but I can’t think of a single high-profile person who’s been given a pass for any kind of behavior because they’re religious. But Whoopi Goldberg can excuse the rape of a 14-year-old on the grounds that it “wasn’t rape rape,” and barely anyone says a peep, she still has her job, and people still lend her views on women and feminism credence.

            Reply
      14. Chinook

        Runner, not only am I church goer, I am even an altar server, so I can honestly say that what I, and others, are saying is not at all reflective of our attitude towards religion but more how many people we see who attend but don’t seem to make the connection between what they are being taught and how that should apply to their interactions with those both inside and outside of their faith. Sometimes it is due to ignorance and sometimes they are just plain hypocrites. Even the Christian gospels have examples of Jesus calling out so called pious people for poor behavior (and him explain that, at least with the professed sinners, he knew what they were capable of).

        Reply
    11. SoAnonForThis

      At a previous employer, we had a real theft issue going on. Cash would disappear and some gift cards that had been bought as employee incentives went missing. People were careful to lock their office doors, but all of them were pretty easy to open with a credit card (we’d all use this trick if we accidentally locked ourselves out of our own office and no one was onsite with a master key). One day, a very long term extremely well liked employee was fired seemingly out of the blue. It came out that her credit card had some charges that couldn’t be explained and some digging turned up that she had been making personal charges for quite some time on her company card and coding them as work items. It was mostly small things that were easy enough to slide through for a long term trusted employee that no one was checking on too closely. A lot of people didn’t believe it. They thought that it had to have been exaggerated or that she just made a mistake somehow. However, the theft problem in general went away after she was let go and we eventually realized that it had to be connected and we just didn’t know her like we thought we did.

      All of this to say that I get the desire to side with the employee that you know, but you just never know what might be going on. Our employee was very well known in the community, worked with charities, had a ton of people that would have sworn (me included) that there was just no way that she could have done what she did. At this point all you know is that the intern accused someone that you liked and are having a hard time believing would do those things. You definitely do not know that they lied to the police.

      Reply
      1. Jesca

        This is soooo true. In my teens, I worked for a chain pizza place. The store manager pulled me aside one time to tell me that I need to be more careful as my drawer keeps coming up short. I felt like crap about myself! I was an honor student with early admissions to college, and I can’t even count money! He kept telling me it was low amounts. One day I come to work, and he is gone! Turns out the home office some how was not buying this, did some investigation, and found that this dude was using my drawer to pocket cash. He would sign in and then steal the money out. Unbelievable! Everyone was shocked. No one knew he was pulling me aside and writing me up to try to set me up for it! When everyone found out about that, double shock.

        You never really know people.

        Reply
            1. Jesca

              I know!!! What a bullet dodged that I didn’t even know was coming! But i look at it like I was lucky enough at a young age to learn that you never can truly know someone.

              I actually had a manager at a part time job a couple years ago steal money from my wallet in our shared locker. Turned out, that wasn’t the only thing she was stealing either.

              Reply
        1. AMPG

          Oh, I worked for a small store when I was in college, and kept finding my drawer short by $20 or $30. I told the owner I thought someone was stealing, but she didn’t want to believe it, and I couldn’t figure out a pattern of which other employee was around every time it happened. Eventually I thought I might have to quit because it was only ever my drawer that was short, and that made me the most likely thief from the owner’s point of view. Right around that time, the opening cashier came in one day to find both drawers cleaned out – we figured out that another employee had an addiction problem and had robbed the store and skipped town.

          Reply
        2. kd

          I worked for a movie theater chain in my teens. The same thing happened to me. We found out that all the managers (4 or 5) were all in on it. They would periodically write us up for it, but when I asked for proof, or the chance to count my till with them at the end of the night, they would shrug and just say everything was fine, we just couldn’t let it happen again. (I was 19, most of my coworkers were about the same age, and the managers were at most 23 years old. There was a lot of “intermingling” with coworkers and managers).

          When a new GM came in, she tried to fire a lot of existing crew members, and she immediately gave me a warning, letting me know that one more write up would result in termination. I explained that the old write ups were not valid, but she (obviously) didn’t agree. I promptly found a new job, and learned my lesson: speak up when something is wrong. When I began bartending after that, I was responsible for receiving my bank, counting all my inventory, and then caluclating sales based off inventory sold. My drawer was never off.

          Reply
        3. chi type

          That EXACT same thing happened to me at my first job (only the manager/thief was a woman so I know we never worked together- ha).

          Reply
      2. Liane

        We had someone like this at OldJob. A young man who worked in the Electronics Department, really nice, good at his job, fun to talk with on break…
        One day some of us see his name and picture in a Police Beat column in the paper. He had been arrested for about $5K in in theft from our store! I have no doubt he did it, although I am not sure how. I suspect some of thefts were fraudulent purchases/returns, as I know he’d done returns with me of relatively small-ticket electronic items in the past. I’d never seen anything odd about them, and I always scrutinized receipts, matched up serial #s and dates, like we were supposed to–no matter WHO made such returns. Because Doing the Job Right is important to me–and cameras. Maybe he did legit returns with several people until he found someone who was lax about procedures because it was a coworker doing the return? All I know is Loss Prevention never asked me about any of his returns.

        Reply
      3. Turtle Candle

        We had something like that too. A guy who was generally genial, well-liked, a good worker, always contributed to the food drive and so forth, was fired for theft. He was in IT, and it turned out that he’d been slipping additional items onto purchase orders and then taking them home for resale. He got away with it for a while because one more flatscreen monitor or hard drive didn’t raise red flags… but he got cocky and put on (of all things) four wiimotes, and yeah, THAT got noticed.

        Never would have guessed it until it happened, though.

        Reply
    12. Kathy

      The part I don’t get is that if the Amazon orders were picked-up; wouldn’t there be some kind of cameras near that area showing who picked up the merchandise? I really can’t see the intern doing this.

      Reply
      1. Mallory Janis Ian

        That’s what I was thinking; wouldn’t the police look at the camera footage and see who showed up to pick up the packages? Unless the full-time employee really did order them, and then the intern saw them on her account and went over there to see WTF was going on.

        Reply
      2. Ego Chamber

        The timeline seems really fast on this one. I don’t think there was time for delivery and pick-up (unless someone had Prime?). I think Intern reported the charges within a day or 2 of them happening, and the police went straight to Coworker for questioning, instead of setting up a sting at the pick-up location like something out of Brooklyn 99.

        Reply
      3. ChurchLady

        My apartment building has lockers where you receive a code by email. The machine is supposed to take your picture and you’re supposed to sign, but it is easy enough to stand to one side and scrawl anything. I don’t know if “actual” Amazon lockers work the same, but some comments on here lead me to believe so, or with even less security. But I am no expert.

        I also do not believe for one second that the intern found out her jacket was stolen (on video, no less!) and then immediately thought, “I will now order millions of Amazon in co-worker’s name and *really* get co-worker.” I mean, really?

        Reply
        1. Jessica

          Especially since it would be the intern’s accounts paying for the orders, which would be denied as fraud and then she’d be liable for all of it (in addition to whatever fallout occurred as a result of trying to frame the coworker). And for what? To make the coworker look bad? There’s no benefit to herself at all, just potentially being on the hook for hundreds of dollars.

          Reply
    13. JM60

      It seems like a clear case of religious favoritism. From the comment about the theif being a churchgoer, it sounds like the OP probably wouldn’t be so inclined to believe the the if of the theif was an atheist. If such favoritism affects the victim’s employment, then she would be victimized again by what I believe to be illegal descrimination (although I’m not a lawyer).

      Reply
      1. JM60

        To add to this: If you’re favoring someone because of their religious beliefs and/or practices, then you’re discriminating against others for not having those religious beliefs/practices.

        Reply
    14. Sheworkshardforthemoney

      I wonder why the husband said they were going to accept a plea for lesser jail time. Would she really be jailed for presumably a first offence if she really is an upstanding citizen? I’m not downplaying her crime but jail time for stealing a jacket seems excessive. Or would a trial open up a can of worms involving criminal activity that the OP is unaware of?

      Reply
      1. Shelby

        It wouldn’t be for the jacket. No way you’d get jail time on that. It would be for the cards. Credit card fraud and identity theft are considered much more serious. Also, because the orders were done by computer there could be additional charges for the fraud. If there were dozens of Amazon orders those could equate to over 100 fraud/theft related charges easily.

        Reply
      2. Helena

        The husband said the lawyer advised her to take a plea deal. It doesn’t say anywhere that she accepted the deal or plead guilty.

        Reply
  2. nnn

    If this were a mystery novel rather than a workplace advice column, my advice would be to stake out the Amazon pickup point and see who picks up the orders in question.

    Reply
    1. esra (also a Canadian)

      I desperately want a workplace crimes unit show. It would air on Hallmark and star one ex-soap opera actress as a Jessica Fletcher-style consultant who goes from office to office uncovering crimes in-between her actual job of streamlining office software and an appealingly-gruff detective.

      Reply
      1. Archie Goodwin

        See, I think it’s time for another entry in the Law & Order franchise.

        Alternatively, you could get Nero Wolfe involved, but I MAY be a tad biased…

        (Actually, he did get involved in workplace stuff at least once. It…escalated, let’s say.)

        Reply
        1. Lily Rowan

          There’s so much workplace stuff! I just re-read The Rubber Band, which….actually has some similarities to this story! The letter writer should watch out for decades-old grudges and Englishmen.

          Reply
          1. Archie Goodwin

            My go-to for dysfunction is The Silent Speaker. But then, I grew up in DC and still live there, so there’s something about that kind of bureaucratic infighting that’s familiar, somehow…

            Besides, I love Phoebe Gunther.

            Reply
          1. Archie Goodwin

            He went to Balliol, you know.
            And sat at the feet of Gamaliel.

            (Love that novel – thanks for reminding me.)

            (And I promise I’ll stop now. :-) )

            Reply
        1. Jaydee

          On the next episode of “Law & Order: Office Park Security” Callahan and Rivera investigate a string of stolen lunches at Teapots Inc. while Parker and McDonough go undercover at Llamas, Llamas, Llamas! to find out whose buttocks were copied and posted in the break room. When the two investigations unexpectedly converge, a scandal will be uncovered that rocks both companies, and the Llamas’ HR Department will go toe-to-toe with the union reps from Llama Cuddlers local 77 in the biggest grievance arbitration in company history.

          Reply
        2. Falling Diphthong

          Ooooh, yes!

          One lesson I have taken from this column is that nothing rouses office passions like expecting there to be simple carbohydrates and then THE SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES ARE GONE!

          Reply
        3. TootsNYC

          including murder disguised through a stolen-lunches ruse.

          Start stealing people’s lunches, so you can poison the colleague/lover who’s jilting you by making it look as though they stole someone else’s lunch, and as though that someone else tampered with the lunch to sicken the lunch thief.

          Reply
        1. LKW

          Next on Law & Order: TPS… When a printer goes missing, everyone looks to Office Security. When pieces of the printer are mailed back to the office… they bring in the L&O squad to catch the culprits. “And then… when I opened the box… it was one of the cogs that move the paper through the rollers! What kind of sick psycho is doing this?!”

          Reply
          1. Wendy Darling

            As someone who has fantasized about dropping their printer off the balcony many times… a psycho who owns a printer. Those machines are monsters.

            Reply
      2. Mike C.

        There was one for restaurants, but then it came out that everything on the “hidden cameras” was staged. It was always weird stuff like, “the employees run their own restaurant inside the owner’s place and only accept cash”.

        Reply
        1. crankypants

          I remember that show. They also used a interceptor that captured their employee’s text messages and emails. I remember how illegal that seemed.

          Reply
        2. pope suburban

          Not a restaurant, but something like that happened at my old place of employment, a construction company. The bookkeeper/admin and at least two of the department supervisors were in on it, and what they would do is they’d buy materials on the company accounts, then have her fake up invoices (and order business cards with their personal numbers on the, not the company’s), and pocket 100% of the money. They all quit before they could be fired, once one of the owners started investigating them. They’d made tens of thousands of dollars off the scheme, but their ineptitude exceeded their criminal instincts, so it couldn’t last.

          Reply
        3. True Story

          Actually, this happened at the restaurant my brother manages. No lie. One of the cooks was pilfering company pizza dough to make his own pizza business out of his house. He took orders while on the clock at the restaurant and had someone else working in the home kitchen.

          Very sketchy.

          Reply
          1. Jessica

            A now-defunct restaurant in Mpls also went under because one of the chefs was using restaurant resources to furnish his own catering side gig. A friend of mine was the pastry chef at the time.

            Reply
        4. Anion

          Mystery Diners!

          My favorite was the one where the bar manager was running an escort service out of the bar, and chased away female customers because of it.

          Reply
      3. OlympiasEpiriot

        Even Peter Whimsey had a workplace mystery… Murder Must Advertise. Very good read, btw, and a nice description of the day-to-day of an advertising office in 1930’s London.

        Reply
        1. Turtle Candle

          In the workplace, the employees are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the other employees, who are always keeping an eye on you, and the managers, who may (or may not) do something about it. These are their stories.

          Reply
      4. Anion

        Tracey Gold stars in “Murder in a Cool Jacket: A Lucille Sunshine Workplace Mystery,” airing next week as part of the Hallmark Channel’s “Strangers You Know” Mystery Month.

        (Yes, I’ve seen a lot of ads on the Hallmark Channel, why do you ask?)

        Reply
    2. blackcat

      Well, maybe depending on the pick up point, you *have* to order in your own name to pick it up (maybe they check IDs)? So that would explain the ordering stuff in one’s own name.

      Reply
    3. Infinity Anon

      If it were a TV show they would be able to track the IP address that placed the order and it would obviously tell them exactly who was using that computer.

      Reply
        1. Elizabeth West

          I had to take some liberties with that myself in the bank robber book. A real crime lab would take weeks or months. “Aw come on, Tess; check this glove and we’ll buy you lunch anywhere you like.” Oh look, hidden evidence!
          Much better than Twenty-five weeks later, Tess finally opened the plastic bag. The killer had moved to Schenectady and it took them another six months to find him.

          Reply
    4. Ellen N.

      What you said. Also, whose Amazon account were the items ordered on? Pilfering someone’s wallet doesn’t give you their Amazon logon credentials.

      Reply
    5. Sunflower

      In my city, a lot of these locker pick ups are inside of stores- mostly convenience stores who most likely have video surveillance.

      Reply
  3. Lily

    That person *stole a personal item*. From *an intern*. I really don’t get why you think she would be credible and honest about stealing stuff.

    Reply
    1. serenity

      She admits to taking the jacket but says she doesn’t know anything about the card.

      I think the OP is not being objective here about a staff member who she has history with. Otherwise, I can’t fathom how someone who admitted the above can be considered credible or reliable person at this point.

      Reply
      1. my two cents

        It seems like a LOT of extra work for an intern to do in addition to having had their coat stolen and having to review the security footage for it.

        That, and Amazon orders ship VERY quickly. Intern would have needed to know immediately that it was the coworker, and then pull up the coworker’s home address for the Amazon orders. Turn-around on Amazon orders is very quick – you cannot cancel an order after a few hours of it being placed.

        Like, had it happened the way the coworker is saying, there’s no way the intern would have absolutely immediately known it was that coworker to place the Amazon orders in their name prior to reviewing the footage.

        Reply
        1. Cambridge Comma

          That’s true; the time of the order compared with the time the intern requested the tape might solve it. (Not that it sounds like OP’s problem to solve.)

          Reply
          1. serenity

            Like Alison said, it should be a police matter at this point.

            And I do hope that others in the OP’s office are less fixated on the intern than on addressing the staff member’s admitted theft. Has that person been disciplined or fired? Or is everyone too busy foaming at the mouth about the intern’s “lying” that there’s going to be no consequences for the staff member? This whole scenario is wrong on so many levels.

            Reply
          1. krysb

            Wait. Whoever shopped on Amazon would either have to have access to the intern’s account or would have to go through their own/a dummy account. So either the intern would be able to view those charges in Amazon, or she’d have to have waited for those charges to appear on her credit account. I wish we had a clearer timeline of events.

            Reply
            1. Alton

              I’m guessing the orders weren’t made through the intern’s account. If they were made through the coworker’s account, that would be pretty damning evidence against the coworker. A dummy account might also be able to be linked to the individual who created it, even if the orders were placed at work.

              Reply
            2. Kyrielle

              Which really, really won’t take long. I use my credit cards on Amazon all the time, and the “pending transaction” shows when I log on to my credit card, even if it’s just a few minutes later. (I’ve never tried doing it as quickly as possible, but I did realize a time or two that I hadn’t noted it in the budget software, and it was faster to check in the app for my credit card than the Amazon app.)

              Plus, if you call and say you’ve lost a card (and, I assume, if you call and say a card has been stolen), one of the things they do is read to you all the recent transactions to confirm they’re yours. (This is also what happens if they detect odd-for-you activity and call you about it, actually.)

              All of this based on my experience with my cards, of course, and it may vary – but it’s certainly very plausible that this information would have been available to the intern quickly.

              Reply
            3. Sarah

              I mean, this is where the whole “police are investigating” bit comes in. Presumably the police here are not totally incompetent, and were able to compare the times of
              a) the security footage of the coat being stolen to
              b) the times the Amazon orders were placed (and through what account/address)
              to come up with a likely scenario here. OP may not have all of that information, since typically police investigations aren’t 100% transparent to the public. Those who are actually investigating the crime are MUCH better placed to make a determination here than either OP or the comments section hearing things 3rd or 4th hand.

              Reply
              1. Sarah

                And note, lying to the police is ALSO A CRIME. So if the interns story were actually fishy and not adding up, this is something the police could/would investigate too. I’m not saying police are infallible, but certainly they’re much better positioned to make a determination here.

                Reply
            4. LKW

              I have an alert on my cc that tells me anytime the card is used for anything over $1. A few months ago someone tried to use my card and I was able to cancel it pretty quickly.

              Not to give away all of my dastardly secrets here but the employee-thief could have found the wallet, taken a snapshot of the card info (mine is now all on the back of the card – single photo!) and sent it to anyone. So don’t assume the employee specifically logged on to Amazon, but they could have definitely made it really easy for someone else to take 15 minutes to set up a new account, pull things from their wish list and send it off somewhere. It would be easy for the police to track that as well.

              Reply
                1. Talvi

                  It could be a debit card – that’s what I use mostly. I only ever use my credit card for online purchases; the rest is on debit. You can’t rack up all that many charges on a debit card without knowing the pin – after every 100$ spent using the tap, the machine forces you to insert the card and enter your pin for the payment to go through. (This could very well be bank-specific, though.)

            5. Kelly L.

              I think the thief added the intern’s credit card to the thief’s own Amazon account as an additional card. So the charges would appear in the intern’s bank account (because they were going to her card) but not in her Amazon account.

              And sometimes Amazon charges don’t show up in your bank account for a day or so.

              Reply
            6. Traffic_Spiral

              A good credit card knows way more about you than you think. So if it gets pinged for Amazon purchases from a different account than what Intern usually uses, the card will notice the data disparity, and send an email going “Hey, your card was used by Coworker’s Amazon account to buy teacups – that cool?”

              Then you go to the cops and be like “so… my wallet’s gone, and I got this email from my credit card saying that it’s being used to buy things from my coworker’s account.”

              Reply
          2. Fake old Converse shoes

            Not necessary. My credit card has a service that sends an email to my address whenever I use it. So, if my credit cards or accounts are stolen, I’m immediately notified when they’re used.

            Reply
            1. RabbitRabbit

              After the Equifax hack, I set my bank and credit card accounts to send push notifications to my phone about any transaction. They get sent from the company very quickly.

              Reply
            2. anon24

              One of my credit cards texts me instantly when my card is run. The other one sets a notification on my smartphone (which then sets a vibration/notification on my Pebble watch). It’s quick enough that if I’m in a store using it my phone is going off before I’ve gotten to the signature screen. My husband complains that he can’t get away with anything because if he runs the card and doesn’t text me beforehand I’m instantly texting him “what did you buy at [store] that cost $50?”

              Reply
        2. TootsNYC

          plus, the intern would have to go without using that card from the moment the jacket was stolen.

          (it wasn’t a home address–it was a pickup point near the office. Which makes it more credible for the intern. But also makes it credible for the jacket thief to do, because she could claim someone else had done it, maybe. Or, she really wasn’t thinking things through–not realizing that the security cameras would spot her with the jacket–and so she may have thought that not using her home address would shield her from detection, names aside. And would she need an ID to pick it up? Then of course she’d use her own name.)

          Reply
          1. Annonymouse

            My bosses and I tend to get personal packages delivered to the office.

            You can be sure I’m there Monday to Friday 9-5 and I won’t miss the delivery. At home it often results in one of those “pick up from the post office that isn’t open after 5 or on Saturdays” slips.

            Reply
        3. Elder Dog

          If your jacket with your credit cards is stolen, and you report it to the police, the police are going to tell you to call your credit card company right away and report your cards stolen. When you report your cards stolen, the card company rep says to you, there were five charges made on Amazon since 8 AM this morning. Was that you? If you say no, you can hand the phone to the police and the card company will give the police the details of those charges. It takes about five minutes.

          The card company cancels the charges, and Amazon won’t ship. Amazon will tell the card company the details of what was charged and where it was being shipped within a couple of days, and the card company will share that with the police. Then the police will ask to review the security footage, find the jacket and charge the employee with the theft of the jacket AND the cards.

          The employee’s lawyer probably helped her get a plea bargain where she pled to just stealing the jacket in order for her not to have to go through a whole trial that would cost the county $$$, since the charges were cancelled and she didn’t actually benefit from the theft. Costing the county $$$ is the important point here.

          The intern didn’t have to point a finger at the employee. It makes more sense she called the police because her wallet was taken. The police wouldn’t likely go through all this big whoop over a stolen jacket even if it was an expensive one.

          Reply
          1. DArcy

            Right. But the intern probably didn’t call the police /right away/, because most people don’t do that; I’d argue that it’s typical that if a clothing item gets missing at work, you’d not necessarily call it in as a theft until you’ve looked around various spots where you’d been that day and asked a few coworkers, “Hey, have you seen my jacket?”

            There’s more than enough time window for the jacket thief to use the intern’s credit cards before the police recovered the stolen jacket and wallet.

            Reply
            1. Ego Chamber

              I thought building security recovered the jacket based on the security footage, then the intern found out about the charges on her credit card later and called the police in at that point.

              This makes more sense to me, and seems more likely based on the phrasing in the letter, although the timeline is unclear.

              Reply
    2. Anna

      It’s the low risk version of “Okay, I was at the store where the robbery took place, but it was an hour before the robbery took place. Okay, I was in the store a half an hour before the robbery took place, but I left before it happened and didn’t see anything” etc.

      Reply
      1. Wasn't Me

        Menace II Society? Love that movie! O-dog was soo dumb with that tape, right? Almost… criminally dumb ;) Poor, poor Caine.

        Reply
  4. A person

    Are the newly-hired-as-staff-member intern and the arrested staff member going to be working together after the latter gets out of jail? Seems like there’s going to be a lot of drama in the office already since some people don’t trust the intern’s version of events.

    Reply
    1. Snark

      From the narrowly selfish perspective of an AAM reader, OH GOD I HOPE SO BECAUSE THAT LETTER WILL BE A THING OF BEAUTY AND POWER.

      Reply
      1. A person

        Based on some letters we’ve seen it’s not outside the realm of possibility!

        I wonder how the intern’s experience will be even if the staff member/thief doesn’t come back. She was the victim of a crime and at some of her coworkers assume she’s lying about it! I dont believe that’s in any recipe for succeeding at your first full time job.

        Reply
    2. Kvothe

      Will that coworker even have a job after jail time? She committed the crime at her place of employment, I’m assuming she would have been fired?

      Reply
    3. RVA Cat

      This! The theft itself should be grounds for a misconduct firing.
      Also, did the intern get her stuff back? If anything the company should pay for her to get ID theft protection as a goodwill gesture.
      Seriously side-eyeing the total lack of information security as well. OP, you may want to think about whether this is a healthy and functional workplace. The whole “but she goes to church!” thing makes me think there’s some cliquishness going on and that you’re distrusting the intern/new hire because she doesn’t fit a certain narrow profile.

      Reply
      1. Susanne

        What IS this, “but she goes to church”? Are we in the Deep South or something? In regular parts of the country, people are aware that there are all different religious traditions, or no traditions at all, and what everyone does on Sunday (or whatever day) is their business and typically not discussed with coworkers. I would have no idea whether my coworkers regularly “go to church” or not, and wouldn’t expect to know unless there was some unusual circumstance (e.g., I see ashes on someone’s head on Ash Wednesday, someone needs to leave early on Friday for Shabbat). And I sure as heck wouldn’t think that that makes them better morally than others — how odd.

        Echoing the others who are flabbergasted that the staff member who stole the intern’s jacket — proven on videotape, no less! — still has a job. That seems like an immediate fireable offense. She didn’t take the intern’s ballpoint pen or stapler or stack of post-it notes or drink her can of Coke. She stole her jacket. Brazenly. In my mind, that is an employee who is done and done.

        Reply
        1. LA

          Hey, that kind of thing will get you fired in the Deep South, too. That “but she goes to church” thing is not going to fly as an excuse even down here, no matter how “irregular” we seem to be. Especially not with proof that said churchgoer stole from a coworker.

          For the coworker to have done this and not been fired, this must be a dysfunctional workplace. Which can happen anywhere.

          Reply
          1. A person

            Even at my old dysfunctional office in the Deep South where people who went to the boss’s church got special privileges, I would think this would be a firing offense!

            My first day at a different dysfunctional office in the Deep South (at a government office no less) one of my colleagues asked me which church I go to. Not IF, mind you. And that’s how I became the office heathen on day one. I’m glad no one stole anything from me, but I sure hope I was just imagining those suspicious looks when someone’s book went missing!

            Reply
        2. TootsNYC

          It wouldn’t surprise me that people know someone goes to church.

          I mention it at the office. Sometimes in a philosophical discussion, or I would mention that I’m the church organist, or that my church has an orphanage in the DR and I buy underwear for it.

          So people know.

          But yes–I go to church because I am a flawed person. My church attendance doesn’t make me a better person.

          Reply
        3. Blue Anne

          Eh. I work in a small office in Ohio. Not only do I know I’m the only weirdo heathen (by the standards of come of my colleagues, anyway), I know most people’s denominations. It’s not that weird.

          But it’s also not some sort of ironclad excuse.

          Reply
        4. Beckie

          I really hope that this letter writer is actually from, like, Maine or Northern California or some other part of the country with a relatively low rate of religious practice. (In fact, is someone more likely to play a solidarity, “but they go to CHURCH!” card in a place where churchgoing is common or uncommon?)

          Reply
      2. Jaydee

        I don’t think it’s so much a “but she goes to church!” thing as it is a “she’s always seemed like a good person for reasons including (but not limited to) her church-going and I’m letting that blind me to the possibility that her crimes went beyond stealing the intern’s jacket.”

        Reply
        1. TootsNYC

          yeah, people at work get shocked when I swear.
          Because I go to church regularly! And sometimes even talk about how my faith intersects with politics or philosophy (when that’s the conversation).

          But if I say the “f” word, they get shocked. (I always point out–that’s not the Lord’s name, and there’s no commandment against vulgarity, just against profanity)

          Reply
  5. Snark

    o_0

    o_O

    Woooow. Dang.

    I take pretty significant exception to the assumption that the intern lied to police, because you have no other evidence that she’s a felon or a liar, and, well….you do have evidence that Coworker is. It’s not out of the question that Coworker committed credit card fraud, because she was already committing theft. I mean, honestly, if you’re on camera ganking someone’s jacket, that’s damning as hell, and it really cuts your credibility down to a stub.

    But that stub of credibility is still there, and OP definitely has more experience with the coworker than the intern. Not that respectable, churchgoing people are immune from the temptation to commit crimes, but. I think all you can go for is “I have some serious doubts about the situation and I need to get them off my chest,” but don’t throw intern under the bus when all evidence points to her being the victim, not the aggressor.

    Reply
  6. Katie the Fed

    Let the police handle it. As far as the intern – I’d just keep an eye on her for signs of dishonesty, but I don’t think you have a strong reason to suspect intern malfeasance here. The coworker was stupid enough to compliment the jacket repeatedly and then steal it in front of cameras, so she might have been stupid enough to order stuff to her own name.

    It’s really exceptionally rotten to steal from a low- or un- paid intern, too.

    Reply
      1. Annonymouse

        IF you’re a fan of stupid criminal shenanigans you’ll love:
        https://m.facebook.com/funlegaltips/#~!/funlegaltips/

        This guy posts free legal tips I’m assuming he’s lived through like:

        “Do not wear crotchless blue jeans to your public indecency hearing. Yes. This happened.”

        “Do not post pictures or comments to any social media about your crimes.”

        “If things are going south in your trial and you fake a heart attack, show restraint. Do not do the Sanford “I’m coming, Elizabeth!” Style theatrical one.”

        Reply
    1. ChurchLady

      “As far as the intern –I’d just keep an eye on her for signs of dishonesty” What?

      Why? No, really – why?

      I just re-read the whole letter again. There is not one fact in OP’s letter pointing to any dishonesty, ever, on the part of the intern. Not one. Zero. OP’s (delusional) animus against the intern is clear. OP’s bias for the “good” co-worker is clear. Nothing points to the intern needing watching in any way. Co-worker is a known thief, caught on camera.

      Victim-blaming.

      Reply
  7. Snarkus Aurelius

    “Our office is opened without assigned seating so although IT could say which computer was used to place the orders there is no way of knowing who did the ordering.”

    It’s 2017. Your office doesn’t have individual login credentials for each employee? Anyone can sit at a computer and do whatever he wants?

    If you want to take action on anything here, it would be this.

    Reply
    1. Kathleen Adams

      Excellent point. It should definitely be possible to tell who was logged on to that computer, and if it isn’t…you have yourself some potential for much bigger and more long-lasting problems.

      Reply
    2. Junior Dev

      Seconding this. There are much more destructive things one can do with an office computer than place some fraudulent Amazon orders.

      Reply
    3. Fiennes

      It’s possible that some activities would require specific login but a simple web visit would not — making the Amazon ordering possible for anyone.

      Reply
        1. queenbeemimi

          My workplace has a general windows login we can all use when in un-assigned locations (because of the nature of our work, we have both personal machines and floating workstations). So it seems feasible to me, and it’s not out of the norm for the field I’m in.

          Reply
      1. SignalLost

        Actually, in all seriousness, can IT find out whose account credentials were used to log in to amazon itself? I don’t do network admin, and the request may be entirely cloaked from the admin, but this cannot have been the intern setting up an elaborate revenge campaign, creating a new amazon login, ordering a zillion packages for delivery to an order point you would have to know the address of, and then cackling maniacally while she destroyed the staffer’s life, all in five minutes.

        Reply
        1. Akcipitrokulo

          Possibly not, but would be able to tell who was logged into the PC at the time. So *IF* the coat-stealer had logged on *AND* left their PC unlocked *AND* the intern was passing and realised they could frame them…

          Reply
        2. Daffodil

          Network admin here. No, probably not. I could maaaaaybe retrieve that info, if the person placing the orders were careless about it. But given that they can’t pin down who was logged into the computer when the order was placed (which is really bad!), I doubt their IT is going to be up to the task.

          I’d also really expect that the order-placer created a new Amazon account to place the orders. If they didn’t – if they used a pre-existing account – the police should be able to get that info. Unless there’s a reason to believe the intern would have the coworker’s personal Amazon login info, that would be pretty conclusive evidence to me. In fact I wonder if the thing about the ‘orders being placed in the coworker’s name’ means that she did use her own account, and the LW is going to an extra level of denial (or technical misunderstanding) here. It sounds like everyone involved is not very tech savvy.

          Reply
          1. SignalLost

            I was going to say “good to know!” as an acknowledgement that I had read your comment and appreciated the info, and then I thought “…maybe not the best approach on a thread about someone somewhere having committed a crime with an unsecured computer.” :)

            Reply
            1. Daffodil

              Hah! Part of doing security is that you have to see opportunities to do harm before you can fix them. I’m not a real computer security tech – I’m a Jane of all trades, but of necessity that involves a fair amount of security. I’ve made coworkers do a double take a few times when I point out XYZ problem and that it leaves an opportunity for ABC crime. Part of my job is having access to all the info in the company, so I have to be above reproach, and people sometimes mistake that for never having an evil thought. It’s fun.

              But as I said below, if you want to commit a crime with a computer, either a) be using top-notch encryption and know enough to be sure you’re using it correctly, or b) assume that a sufficiently funded criminal investigation can get it. The more I learn, the more certain I get that cyber crime is just a bad idea.

              Reply
              1. Candi

                Hah! You sound like Jamie (Hello Kitty avatar). She’s head of her company’s IT department, and it’s amazing how people don’t think, and she has to deal with it. (There’s a blog post around here somewhere where Alison interviewed her about the IT keys to the kingdom and What To Do if only one person has those keys. Which is silly but happens.)

                If she’s reading, she’s probably twitching in the corner over this company’s IT setup. :p

                One thing I’ve noticed with computer internet security; the workable ideas don’t seem to be keeping the bad guys out -almost impossible if there’s any kind of connection- but to make it such a pain in the derriere the crooks don’t want to bother with the time and effort.

                Reply
                1. sstabeler

                  It’s not even quite that- AFAIK, for MOST security purposes, it’s basically the same principle as the old saying about being chased by a tiger (I think it was). “I don’t need to outrun a tiger. I just need to outrun the other people trying to outrun a tiger”- for most security headaches, you are up against opportunists who are looking for vulnerabilities across a wide range of IP addresses, not someone who is planning an attack on you specifically. If it’s sufficiently hard enough, they will look for easier targets.

          2. Just Another Techie

            I think we can assume the police have that info already, since they know the address the packages were shipped to! The only way they’d know that is if they got that information from Amazon in the course of their investigation, since no matter who is lying or whose account was used to place the orders, I can think of no scenario where anyone involved would be both able and willing to give the police the ship-to address.

            Reply
            1. Sunflower

              I wonder if the police know more than they are telling on the office? Especially if it’s an open investigation. If the police have reason to believe it was the staff member, maybe its because THEY KNOW it was the staff member.

              Reply
              1. Turtle Candle

                Yep. I’d assume that the police very likely know quite a bit more than the office does, because there’s no reason they’d keep the office posted on this (and plenty of reason they wouldn’t!).

                Reply
            2. Daffodil

              Oh yes, definitely. I’d have a hard time retrieving that information, but I wouldn’t bet against a digital forensics specialist, and the police would be remiss in their duties if they didn’t get that info from Amazon. I suspect the LW is being selective about the evidence here.

              The moral of the story is that if there’s anything digital involved, you need to either a) be using top-notch encryption and know enough to be sure you’re using it correctly, or b) assume that a sufficiently funded criminal investigation can get it.

              Reply
              1. Kyrielle

                Or the LW, not working for the police, may not be privy to all the details. All too often, someone on the outside of an action (legal or otherwise) sees only part of what’s going on – by design. OP may be assuming they have firmer knowledge of the details than they do.

                Reply
        3. Cassandra

          Cybersecurity newbie here… my best-guess answer is mmmmmmmmmmmaybe and that’s IF they got a memory dump (not a disk image, a memory dump) after the orders were placed BUT before the computer was shut down.

          Which, given the security in evidence (I agree with the WTFs on the no individualized logins), does not seem terribly likely.

          Reply
        4. Anon for Work Purposes

          No, but as someone who used to work in security monitoring for a major online retailer. I can tell you that it is not out of the realm of possibility to reach out to Amazon directly and find out exactly when and how the suspicious transactions took place from their end. Did it happen before or after the jacket thief was identified? What types of items were purchased? Other questions I’m not allowed to talk about…

          Unfortunately, It’s too late now to setup computer credentials that could have solved this mystery on the OP’s end. But maybe you can avoid situations like this in the future.

          Reply
    4. Akcipitrokulo

      Yeah – working in IT here… unless all the PCs are completely unprotected or there is one login for everyone (which is making me do all kinds of NOOOOO….) … you can tell who was logged into a certain PC at a certain time.

      Reply
        1. Someone else

          Fourthed. The only way this story might make sense is if there’s a bit left out where supposedly they know who was logged into the computer, and it was intern, and Intern is saying thief went to desk intern was using, which was still logged in as intern and not locked, took jacket, found cc, placed orders at said desk, then left with jacket. If that is the story i could see how the op maybe got the idea the orders might not have been the their. But shared workstations should so not at all mean shared logins, so if IT really has no way of knowing who was using the computer at the time of the orders, their internal IT policies suck.

          Reply
      1. Daffodil

        You can tell who’s logged in, but if your procedures around passwords are sloppy it may not do you much good. Ways I have seen password security be foiled:

        – Person writes their password down.
        – People know coworkers’ passwords because they occasionally log in as each other to retrieve information in a pinch.
        – Manager keeps a list of all their employees’ passwords. (Came down on that one like a ton of bricks.)
        – IT person keeps a list of employees’ passwords. (In hind sight I should have gotten the guy fired for it, but he was my boss and that was my first IT job.)
        – There’s no auto-lock for idle computers, or it kicks in after an excessively long time.
        – Everyone gets set up with the same default password, and they’re not forced to change it.

        The most practical fix for all of these is making people change passwords frequently. Every three months is the recommended time, but people absolutely hate this, and sometimes it results in more passwords getting written down, not less. Even then you can’t entirely rule out a scenario where someone accidentally walks away with their computer unlocked and someone else sits down as soon as they’re gone. It’s not a solved problem.

        Reply
        1. Geoffrey B

          At my old work, the Big Boss kept a spreadsheet of everybody’s passwords. In an unsecured folder on the network drive. I even remember the filename: “BRIEN’S MASTER PASSWORD FILE KEEP OUT YOU BASTARDS.xls”.

          Reply
            1. Geoffrey B

              To be fair, he did have a password lock on the spreadsheet, but this was back in the days when password-protection didn’t mean encrypting the contents, so it would’ve been trivial to bypass. And I’d be *astonished* if he’d used a strong password.

              One of many reasons I’m glad not to be working for that guy.

              (I dealt with this by giving him my password as requested, and then forgetting to let him know when I updated it a month later.)

              Reply
        2. a different Vicki

          Making people change their passwords frequently doesn’t fix most of these: the boss or IT person who keeps a list would just demand to know the new passwords, and if there’s no auto-lock a password won’t help. And as you note, the more often I have to change my password, and the more rules it has to live up to, the more likely I am to write it down. At this point, I have a few of my important passwords memorized, and a few others are low-enough-security that I reuse them (e.g. library card PINs), but if I need a mix of random symbols, capitalization, and numbers, to be changed monthly, of course I’m going to write it down someplace I can find at work. So, either on or in my desk, or in my wallet, because that’s the only thing I’m sure I’ll take to work every day.

          Yes, starting people with different passwords rather than something like “your password is ‘newuser'” would help, yes, as would auto-locking computers.

          Reply
          1. SpecialK9

            Oh my gosh, Vicki, please don’t do that! That has me really worried for you. A secure way to keep your passwords is to pay for an app on your phone, like Last Pass, and keep them there. Then you only remember the password to get into the app. It’ll generate passwords using the criteria you set.

            Reply
            1. a different Vicki

              Yes, that is secure: *if* I can count on remembering that one password, and can count on the security of that app. I guess it’s a question of who you trust: backdoors and security holes turn up in all sorts of places, and what are the chances that criminals also find one of the zero-day exploits than the NSA is hoarding instead of reporting? (Answer, I don’t know, and nobody else does either.) For the moment, I’ll trust Bruce Schneier, who said either write down individual good passwords, or use a password manager.

              What I’m not going to do is put a lot of mental effort into following an unreasonable policy (the change-it-monthly part: the person who promulgated that has said that he was wrong, and never had evidence in favor of it) for something that protects them more than me.

              This is moot right now, since I’m freelancing and not using that sort of company system right now: but when your boss explicitly tells you that you have to leave your password taped to the underside of your keyboard in an open-plan office, the only password guideline that still makes sense is not to use that password for anything else.

              Reply
    5. Hey Karma, Over here.

      This. I can use any computer as well, but I’m logged in as myself. So, what? Computers are just open to anyone? The dang library makes you log in. I don’t get this.
      I do wonder if there is more to it, but the company wants the employees to get over this, so they are saying they’ve done all they can, move on.

      Reply
    6. Daffodil

      IT person here. It’s possible that everyone does have individual logons, but either there’s a default password when accounts are set up and most people just keep their defaults, making it easily guessable, or the computers don’t lock themselves after a short period of inactivity. Either could lead to not really being able to know who is at the keyboard. It’s much more common than you’d think, sadly.

      I suspect one of two scenarios: Either the IT is pretty terrible and really can’t venture a reliable guess about who was at the computer, or they’ve said something to the police along the lines of “The coworker’s account was logged in, and this is how we secure our accounts so it’s unlikely that anyone else was using it. But obviously our skills don’t extend to proving whose fingers were on the keyboard.” If the LW really wants to believe her friend, that can easily turn into “Well there’s no way of knowing for sure.”

      Reply
      1. oranges & lemons

        My office’s IT guy made me change my computer’s password because it wasn’t easy enough to guess and he couldn’t get in when he came in on a weekend.

        Reply
        1. Kyrielle

          *twitch*

          *twitch twitch*

          And I thought it was bad when IT at a previous job demanded I give them my password so they could set up a new laptop for me. (It was, but. Not as ridiculous as requiring passwords to be guessable for…some random access you presumably didn’t know about?)

          Reply
          1. oranges & lemons

            For bonus points–the main reason I set up that password was because a colleague was known for going through people’s personal email for blackmail material.

            Reply
        2. Daffodil

          … What. The correct protocol in that case, if he absolutely has to be logged in as you, is for him to reset your password to something temporary, and then inform you of the temporary password and make you reset it again when you get back in the office. Which is annoying as heck, which is why you work hard to avoid that scenario.

          Reply
        3. Mallory Janis Ian

          Wow. My office’s IT guy stopped me dead in my tracks when I (a long time ago before I knew better) tried to tell him my password so he could log in and fix my computer. IT people aren’t supposed to want to know your password!

          Reply
          1. Observer

            I keep on getting asked why I don’t know people’s passwords. Folks, I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.

            I tell them that the auditors would kill us if I had the passwords. Which is true.

            Reply
      2. Hey Karma, Over here.

        Thanks for that. It really clears up my question of “what do you mean you don’t know?!?” That’s plausible and as someone who doesn’t always lock the computer when I step away for “just a minute” I get it.

        Reply
        1. Akcipitrokulo

          At old place, that would be a severe talking to first place followed up with disciplinary – we were dealing with medical records though.

          New place, you’ll probably come back to discover that you’ve emailed the whole company promising to bring in cake tomorrow….

          Reply
      3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

        I’ve been working with computer / data security for over 30 years. I’ve seen “experts” blunder through answers.

        First of all, NO ONE has any business knowing your passwords for access. Not your subordinates, not your boss, not your co-workers.

        An effective system for security –

        1) One user = one ID = one password.

        2) New users have 10 minutes to change their passwords. You log in, and are immediately advised “change it NOW”

        3) NO LISTS. No one, including the boss, has a list of passwords. Actually, a good security system encrypts passwords, and even the security people can’t get to them.

        4) You have TWO individuals with administrative authority. Not one. That way, if one of the parties with admin authority leaves, or is terminated, the other can suspend the departee’s ID and create a second admin. That way, there’s no need to ask for passwords from a departing employee. And you still have accountability.

        I once had to research an incident of data being sabotaged; there was a suspect, BUT – eight other people in that facility shared the same ID/password. I had NO way of telling whose hands were on that keyboard.

        The boss asked me “was it (so and so)” — I said “you might think that. And you might surmise, one of the bosses did it, to make the (so and so) look bad. So, I can’t attest to whose hands were on the keyboard. So, that’s my answer = ‘I don’t know.'”

        And when I see people in here, in a quandary over “the departing employee won’t give me the password” – yeah, they shouldn’t have to, if you set up your security correctly and professionally.

        Reply
    7. LKW

      It would have been just as easy to send the cc information to someone else via photo or text or use a smart phone. Let the police figure out the account/shipping information. That should be damning enough.

      Reply
    8. Portia

      I’m sure this is a big IT and security risk…but in my experience it’s not uncommon. I’ve worked at several places that had a default login and password for all the computers that were in a common area, so if something like this had happened, there would have been no way of tracing who it was (or at least, no easy way). And yes, people accidentally left themselves logged in to gmail and amazon and so forth all the time.

      Reply
  8. Barbara in Swampeast

    OP, while no one can say for sure who used a computer in your office, I bet the police have found out who picked up the packages.

    I’m sorry your friend is not who you thought she was, but I hope you take some time to think about how easy it has been for you to ignore the admitted theft and blame the intern.

    Reply
    1. Steve

      When I was in college (to date myself, this happened almost 20 years ago) I used a credit card on a campus computer and the number was stolen. The thief used my name and credit card number to order several hundreds of dollars of porn videos, shipped to a Mail Boxes Etc a few blocks from campus. I of course disputed the transaction with my credit card company. The merchant called me and yelled that I must be lying because the items were shipped in my name and the thief had picked them up, which would have required an ID. Well, I assure you that I neither ordered nor picked up the items. Therefore either the thief managed to get the items without an ID, or they created a fake ID for the purpose. Either way, the requirement for an ID to pick up, is not as strong as you might think.

      Reply
      1. many bells down

        Amazon has “lockers” now, too. You get a code with your order, and when it arrives you just go down to the bank of lockers, enter the code on the computer screen, and one of the doors pops open and tada! there’s your stuff. I’ve used them a few times for returns as well. No ID needed, since it’s all automated and presumably only the person who made the order would know the code.

        Reply
  9. Cambridge Comma

    The coworker didn’t realise thet she would be picked up on the videotape, so maybe she equally didn’t realise that the Amazon order details would be visible?

    Reply
      1. Manders

        Yes, I’m pretty sure the identification points require you to provide your ID to get your package. You can’t just waltz in and demand an Amazon box with no way of proving who you are.

        Reply
        1. Snark

          An Amazon Locker just provides you with a PIN in your confirmation email. You punch in the PIN and the locker pops open. You don’t interact with anybody.

          Reply
          1. Manders

            Amazon pickup points aren’t the same thing as Amazon lockers, though. I think this may be confusing to people because there are a lot of different ways to get an Amazon package delivered to a place that will hold it for you that someone might refer to to as a pickup point, but there’s also a specific thing the company uses called a “PickupPoint” that requires an ID.

            Reply
        2. Deep Thoughts

          You can have packages sent to an amazon locker, which is a freestanding box outside a store. They email a code to you, which you can use to open the locker and get your order.

          Reply
          1. sunny-dee

            I wondered if it was a PIN or if you had to show an ID, but the other thing was access to that email. She may have used her own account because, well, she didn’t know how to set up a different account and have access to the email.

            Reply
        3. Wannabe Disney Princess

          It depends. I use an Amazon locker ALL THE TIME. The pickup code is sent to the phone and email associated with the account. Nobody checks it’s actually me picking it up. But, conversely, nobody knows it isn’t me picking it up either. I could put anybody’s name on there.

          Reply
          1. Hey Karma, Over here.

            I did not know about this feature. This explains everything. Thinking that sending it to a box makes it anonymous in some way. Combined with the sheer brazen ego of someone who would walk off with a coat…employee figured nobody could tell, it’s just a number.

            Reply
          2. Anna

            I’d bet there are cameras or something either on the locker or in the stores/buildings where the lockers are. So, it’s not totally unreasonable to imagine they could find out if they needed.

            Reply
              1. Falling Diphthong

                That’s a good point. The lawyer has told coworker that “how could anyone know who placed the order or picked it up” was not going to fly at all as a defense. And OP is getting the coworker’s version, without the lawyer’s ‘why this won’t hold up’ annotations.

                Reply
                1. Rainy, not-PI

                  I would be very surprised if Coworker hasn’t been stealing stuff from people in the office for quite some time and no one connected the dots–the outrageously brazen nature of the crime *and* the patently ridiculous defense seem to me like someone who is used to petty thievery *and* having a hard time with the idea that they’ve been caught out.

                  I wonder how many other interns had stuff go missing and just gave it up as a bad job after being told that Coworker would *never* steal because she *goes to church*.

                2. Steve

                  Actually we don’t know what the lawyer told the cow-orker. All we know is what the ‘orker told the OP. Given that the ‘orker is a known thief and liar, I would take whatever she says with a grain of salt.

                  I am not a lawyer, but “you can’t prove who took those items” actually is a perfectly good defense. Innocent until proven guilty and all. So, I’m suspecting the evidence against the ‘orker is actually stronger than she is letting on.

            1. Kate LJ

              Amazon Lockers do have cameras on them, just like ATMs. The locker in my building does, anyway, so I assume they all do. Still, anyone with the code could pick up the package, just like anyone with your PIN can use your card at an ATM.

              Reply
  10. Judy (since 2010)

    Do you not all log into the computers with unique accounts?

    If someone deletes the TPS database could your IT tell who did it?

    If someone downloads all of your proprietary documents, could your IT tell who did it?

    To me, it sounds like there’s some information security work to be done.

    Reply
    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      Good lord, this.

      I have a bias I’ve mentioned before in favor of heavy IT security (I work in finance) but oh man, I’m having palpitations thinking about how bananas this is for any company in this day and age.

      Reply
      1. SignalLost

        I currently work in order fulfillment for *ahem* a company named in this post. We are the lowest of the low and we do nothing that involves using a computer in a free-range kind of way (at my level we log into a web app that I’m sure most people don’t realize is a web app). We still have better security than this.

        Reply
        1. Hey Karma, Over here.

          No joke. As I noted elsewhere, because I’m so freaked out about this “free range” idea, the local library has better security for public workstations.

          Reply
          1. Kyrielle

            The local library probably has less trust in the least-trustworthy of their patrons, than most companies do in the least-trustworthy of their employees.

            Although, as this letter shows, that trust may be wildly misplaced.

            Reply
        2. Daffodil

          TBH, most work environments with low-paid workers have waaaaaaay better security than office environments, because they just treat their employees with suspicion from the get-go. I’m guessing that the office environment in this story is a) not in a high-security field, b) an older average age group with long-term employees, and c) I’d give it even money that it’s a non-profit. “Everyone” who works there is trustworthy, and they’re not dealing with highly valuable info anyway, so who needs security?

          As a network tech, fighting this attitude is the most unpopular thing I have to do. People like to use the same password for years on end (heaven knows I’ll do it too with my personal stuff!) and get really unhappy when you force them to change it.

          Reply
          1. Observer

            Not necessarily. Nonprofits with networks generally do have individual log ins. If they don’t have a network, just a shared internet access, then possibly not. And, of course, there is always the issue of someone leaving their credentials lying around.

            Reply
        1. Hey Karma, Over here.

          Yes, this. Oh, wait you mean obstructing the police? I thought you meant in terms of their own staff. They don’t have to tell every employee what they are doing to assist the police. Instead of telling everyone they are doing what they can, IT made a statement that they can’t do anything, in some weird idea that this will make people finish talking about it.

          Reply
  11. Leatherwings

    I find it kind of incredible to believe that, after realizing her jacket and wallet were gone, the intern’s first thought would be to go online and order a bunch of crap from Amazon to frame the person who stole it. That seems… implausible given the rest of the setup.

    Reply
      1. Matilda Jefferies

        And my credit card company. It’s not clear whether or not the intern actually did that, but if she did, the police can certainly establish the time of the Amazon purchases, relative to the time of the theft. (Also, echoing the other responses that the company needs to establish unique login credentials immediately if not sooner. Yikes.)

        OP, I’m with the others in suggesting you check your assumptions here. From an outside perspective, based on what you’ve written in your letter, the intern seems to have more credibility in this situation than the staff member does.

        Reply
      2. Steve

        My first thought would be “where did I misplace my jacket?” Like the OP, it simply wouldn’t occur to me that a coworker was actually a brazen thief.

        Reply
        1. many bells down

          Once I knew my jacket had been stolen. AND I spotted someone walking down the street wearing it – it was customized, and I’d repaired a tear in the hem rather poorly, so it was very obviously my missing jacket.

          I still didn’t get it back. She denied taking it and walked off and what was I going to do? Wrestle her? This was before cell phones so I’d have lost her entirely if I’d gone to call the cops.

          Reply
          1. ggg

            My cousin had a whole load of laundry stolen from a dorm dryer, and the next day, saw a girl wearing her shirt that said something like “Third Place, Smalltown Tennis Tournament.”

            She got her clothes back.

            Reply
            1. ChurchLady

              The only thing that would make this (sad – who steals someones clothes!?) better is if your cousin’s name was emblazoned on the back of the t-shirt!

              Reply
              1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

                There was a “whiz kid” who held up a bank in a neighboring town.

                Wearing his high-school hockey jacket.

                There was a show on TV some years back – “America’s Dumbest Criminals”. Having spent two summers working as a civilian for a police department, I can assure you that the producers of that show had absolutely no shortage of material at their disposal.

                Reply
    1. apostrophina

      I mean, I believe it *might* happen *somewhere*— it’s a big old world, and I’ve certainly overheard enough outlandish conversations to know that a surprising number of people really do think/behave like people on talk shows—but there’s no way it would be my #1 theory.

      Reply
    2. my two cents

      Well, and how would the intern have had access to the coworker’s home address?
      I know where my coworkers live, in general…but not beyond their subdivision/neighborhood, and certainly not house numbers or zip codes.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        It sounds like the items were shipped to a location near work (probably a locker?), not to the coworker’s home.

        That said, I still think the likelihood that the coworker committed credit card theft is higher than the likelihood that the intern staged an elaborate con to compound the coworker’s legal liability.

        Reply
        1. my two cents

          Oh yeah, forgot entirely about the pick up point option.

          I’m still pretty set on the coworker having placed the order(s).
          Cops will quickly figure out when the order was placed, and they should be able to track the IP for the computer/phone used. Either coworker or intern placed the order from their house (the cell tower location for data, or their home wi-fi/internet will be discovered), or they used a work computer (track IP addy) or their cell phone during work hours (work wi-fi?) and can check cam footage.

          Reply
          1. JM60

            In addition to IP address, they should be able to easily subpoena Amazon to get information about which account ordered the items, such as how old or is (was it created after the theft or around that time?), whether it had previous credit cards associated with it (such as one of the co-worker’s cards), etc.

            Reply
            1. JM60

              But if law enforcement come up empty for some reason, or don’t pursue it due to lack of time/resources (which is why some crimes go unpunished), all benefit of the doubt should go to the intern over the coworker, because you know that the coworker did commit at least one workplace crime.

              Reply
      2. LCL

        In this work group, we have a list posted in the office only of names and addresses. I know it’s not the modern way to do things, but we’ve been doing it this way since dirt was new.

        Reply
    3. Kathleen Adams

      That is such a weird (and unlikely) form of revenge.

      Of course I don’t know either of these people and the OP does. But just on the face of it, if I had to decide which was more credible between (1) person who steals a jacket also tries to misuse a credit card she found in that jacket and (2) person finds out their jacket has been stolen and decides to get revenge by planting fake evidence that the jacket-stealer also stole her credit card…well, let’s just say that (1) is by far the more likely.

      At the very least, the OP has some excellent evidence that the staff member is dishonest. Her evidence about the intern isn’t nearly as strong, and in fact rests on the basis of someone who has already admitted to theft. I’m sorry, OP – it’s difficult to find out that someone you know and like isn’t who you thought she was.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        It’s possible. I just agree that it’s unlikely. If I got something stolen by a coworker, I’d basically just try to get them fired, not stage an elaborate ruse framing them. It’s just a little baroque for how people actually think.

        Reply
    4. Amy

      It would take me a bit to realize it was even stolen. I would just be assuming I left it some where around the office or at home before I went to someone stole my stuff. I’m always leaving my sweater in the conference room that’s way warmer than the rest of the office.

      Reply
    5. Akcipitrokulo

      So… the intern has memorised her 16-digit credit card number? ‘Cos otherwise how did she enter it when the card was in her missing jacket?

      Reply
        1. Em

          Memorizing the number doesn’t seem odd to me. I do all my bank and credit card stuff online and some online shopping, so I have memorized the numbers for 7 or 8 bank and credit cards. If I’ve been doing a lot of online ordering, I end up memorizing the expiry dates and security codes of the cards I use the most.

          Reply
          1. Em Too

            Me too! Only of one card, but yes. Otherwise I’d have to get out my chair to order things. But if my cards were missing, I’d be looking for them, not ordering stuff in other people’s names online.

            Reply
            1. Mallory Janis Ian

              I have all my credit card, debit card, and library card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes stored in my head. Once I’ve entered a number multiple times, it just sticks (plus I don’t want to get up and dig around for my wallet). I still have the number for a card I haven’t used for years stuck in my head. Plus all my immediate family members’ social security numbers and the DOB/SSN, etc. for an old boss who relied on my assistance more than any other boss ever has.

              Reply
              1. Emm

                I have the number for a bank account I closed a decade ago still stuck in my head, thanks to the number of times I had to input it into telephone banking when I was a teenager.

                Reply
        2. Falling Diphthong

          I still remember the point when I realized that my young teenager had memorized my credit card number, expiration, and security code, and so didn’t need the actual physical card to order things online anymore.

          So it’s quite doable.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth West

            I have mine memorized. Which has come in handy when I’ve forgotten it. But even if the intern does have it memorized, I still doubt very highly that she and not the coworker ordered the items.

            Reply
        3. The Cosmic Avenger

          Yes, I have all of those memorized, plus I have them stored in LastPass. (Breaches happen, but I probably put myself more at risk with every purchase than I do by keeping that information there.)

          Reply
        4. A.

          I not only have my current and previous CC number, expiry date, and security code memorized, I also have my current and previous library card numbers memorized.

          Reply
        5. Fiennes

          I have all my data for all my cards & accounts memorized. Well, maybe not my investment account – but I know my credit cards/checking/saving by heart. I didn’t realize this wasn’t ordinary procedure.

          Reply
        6. Annonymouse

          It’s not that hard.

          Before going on maternity leave I had both my bosses and my own cards, expiries and dates included, completely memorised.

          I did all then office purchasing and they’re both often in meetings or out of the office so it was the easier solution.

          Reply
      1. hayling

        I do think that the intern is innocent, but I’ll provide the counterpoint that I have my debit card number, including expiry and CVV, memorized.

        Reply
        1. Antilles

          I do as well. If you have one or two main cards that you use for everything, it’s pretty easy to memorize it over the course of a year or so.

          Reply
        2. CMart

          I was going to comment myself asking if this was all that unusual. I’ve had my main accounts of various sorts (debit and credit cards, checking account and routing number) memorized since I was old enough to have something like that.

          Reply
      2. Commenter

        I have the credit card number of my main credit card memorized, along with the CVV code and expiration date. The number hasn’t changed in 20 years since I first got it, I use it on a bunch of sites, and I’m good at memorizing numbers. So that part isn’t that outlandish to me. That doesn’t mean I think the intern did this, just that it’s possible.

        Reply
      3. JulieBulie

        1. She could have lied about her wallet being stolen, and had the cards on her all along.
        2. It’s not that unusual to memorize a credit card number, especially if you order a lot of stuff. (I order from Domino’s frequently and don’t let them store my credit card number, so I have to enter it every time. I’ve “memorized” it effortlessly.)
        3. Even if I don’t think it’s weird that the intern might remember her credit card number, I still think it’s far more likely that the coworker did the crime.

        Reply
        1. irritable vowel

          I mean, either the wallet was in the jacket or it wasn’t. What happened after the video footage was reviewed – did the coworker, once she admitted to taking it, bring the jacket back, and if so, was the intern’s wallet in it? That’s something that would have been included in the police report regarding the stolen property. I’m guessing that since the coworker has been charged with the credit card fraud, the wallet was in fact in the intern’s jacket.

          Reply
          1. Just Another Techie

            And I imagine that none of these details were shared with the office in general because that’s not how police investigations work. Whatever the police found in the jacket or have learned about the Amazon orders, OP and likely her boss too, will never know. All they’ll ever get to know is that the police found sufficient evidence to press charges, and the defense attorney is advising a plea bargain.

            Reply
          2. Mike B.

            Why would the coworker have left the wallet in the jacket when she returned it? “I don’t know anything about the credit cards” is a tough claim to make when you admit you were in possession of the cards at the time they were used; she seems to be gambling that they can’t prove the wallet was there to begin with.

            Reply
      4. Anna

        Well, you can save payment methods on your Amazon account so if this implausible course of actions were to happen, it’s not the credit card number that would have stopped her.

        Reply
        1. Detective Amy Santiago

          Yes, but if you ship to an address that you’ve never shipped to before, they require you to re-enter the card information.

          Reply
      5. LBK

        Amazon saves your payment info, so that part doesn’t seem particularly implausible (and I personally do have my credit card memorized – I buy way too much stuff online to have to check it every time).

        Reply
        1. A Rose By Any Other Name

          Yeah, but I’ve been asked to confirm my credit card information if I’m shipping to anywhere that’s not in my address book, such as anything other than my home address.

          Reply
      6. LKW

        I’ve got mine memorized. You never know when you’re going to need that information and while I try not to say those numbers out loud in public, it’s a wee bit more secure if I’m not simultaneously on the phone looking at my card. That’s just an invitation for eavesdropping.

        Reply
      7. SignalLost

        Eh. You can store info in Amazon anyway, so if the intern did it, she probably just selected one of the stored cards. But that said, I have managed to memorize all three of my credit cards and one of my library account numbers (which is even longer) because I have a magical memory for random strings of digits and typing them in helps me to remember them. (And the CCV on my primary card is something like 369 which is memorable in itself because of the pattern.)

        Reply
        1. sap

          When shipping to a new address (even an old address with a new name–which I discovered after changing my maiden name) Amazon requires full re-entry of a credit card number, so storage wouldn’t really help Intern here unless I misunderstand the story and Intern was accusing coworker of shipping things in Intern’s name.

          Reply
      8. Bagpuss

        I don’t find the idea of memorising the number odd. I know one of mine (including expiry dates and cvv number). The other I haven’t quite got because my card got skimmed so I have a new number.

        That said, I don’t think that there is any evidence to suggest that the intern has done anything wrong at all.

        Has the thief been sacked?

        Reply
      9. Tuxedo Cat

        I don’t think the intern faked it, but I have my credit card number, CCV, and expiration date memorized. Not every single card I have but I do have one memorized.

        Reply
    6. Jess

      I thought the same! A coworker stealing from an intern (or anybody) at the office is so completely out of line that I would just assume it would result in the coworker’s immediate termination (if it was provable, which it was here), and thus there would be no need for any personal “revenge.” (Not advocating personal revenge in any case; just pointing out that even if you’re the type to consider personally avenging wrongdoing it wouldn’t even be necessary here!)

      Reply
      1. Whyblue

        This! Why would the intern bother? A theft caught on video should be enough to get the thief fired and in some legal trouble. Seriously, if I wanted revenge in that kind of situation, I would post the story and the thief’s picture or even the video on social media for all the world (and church members) to see. Why go through all the trouble of framing her for a second crime? Is the result really going to be that different? Whereas the thief has all the more reason to deny the part of the crime that cannot be proven beyond a doubt, even if only to save a little bit of face.

        Reply
    7. BethRA

      Don’t get me wrong, I see no reason to believe ex-coworker’s story, but is that any more or less incredible than stealing a credit card and using it to order a bunch of stuff in your own name?

      OP, I know it’s hard to let go of what you thought you knew about Ex-Coworker, but please don’t victimize this intern again by punishing her for what’s happening to your former co-worker.

      Reply
      1. Falling Diphthong

        I mean, coworker didn’t have the sense to silently covet the jacket and then steal it, but admired it in front of witnesses multiple times so she would be the lead suspect if it went missing at work. Nor to realize that there were multiple security cameras recording her. So I’m not sure any subsequent crimes have a high bar to clear.

        Reply
        1. SignalLost

          In general, I’m just so disappointed that so many people commit dumb crimes because they haven’t thought things through. I mean, I’m sure the police disagree with me on that, but my God, the failure of our education system is so evident in the lack of logical thought in something like this!

          Reply
          1. Chinook

            “I’m just so disappointed that so many people commit dumb crimes because they haven’t thought things through”

            I am on record, as an educator, for telling a few students, on separate occasions, who have playfully contemplated a life of crime or taking over the world that I am okay with it as long as they aren’t stupid about it. I don’t want them to be dumb, lazy criminals but, instead, to strive to be criminal masterminds who even those chasing them have to admire for the amount of intelligence and planning their crimes take. Don’t be a lazy criminal – be a smart one.

            Basically, if they were caught because they did something stupid or lacked planning, then I would be embarrassed to have ever taught them. But, if taught a future Moriarty, I would have to smile if I ever heard about their exploits.

            Strangely, once I pointed out the amount of work a successful life of crime would take, most teenagers figured it wasn’t worth the effort. The one who did has promised me a seat on his escape helicopter!

            Reply
          2. Bagpuss

            I’m not sure that I blame the education system. Logical thought needs a certain level of intelligence, as well as the ability to apply logic. I think you can teach people to think more logically, but I don’t think you can make them more intelligent.

            And I suppose that the thieves and other criminals who can do forward planning and logical thought are less likely to get caught!

            I used to work with criminals, and it’s true, most of them were distressingly inept. Not only people committing dumb crimes but people repeatedly committing the *same* dumb crimes and never working out that they are going to get caught *every* time.

            Reply
          3. Misc

            My mother had a phone stolen by someone at work recently (after a series of other thefts), looked up the call history online, called the last number… the person who stole it answered.

            Apparently they just picked it up, *got seen with it and made up a story about finding it lost in a random place and that they were taking it home to keep it safe*, left details with the person who saw them, went back and removed their info straight after that person left, then went home and gave it to a family member who promptly used it to ring their personal phone. So not only were they SEEN and had ample opportunity to back out, but they compounded it and then didn’t even have the sense to not use it for awhile or something. And my mother didn’t even have to use any of the tracking options.

            Yes, people are that stupid.

            Reply
      2. oranges & lemons

        What I really want to believe is that the intern is a mastermind who orchestrated the whole thing, including manipulating the co-worker into stealing her jacket in the first place. Even better if they were in it together, planning to swap jobs and identities.

        Reply
    8. AMT

      Also, the letter seems to have glossed over the fact that the employee STOLE THE INTERN’S WALLET along with the jacket. Even if she didn’t place the orders (which should be easy to trace to her or the intern’s Amazon account, right?), what exactly did she plan to do with the wallet after realizing it was in the jacket pocket?

      Reply
        1. bookish

          But it seems like it’s a fact that the wallet was IN the jacket, and the part that the employee is denying is just the USE of the credit card.

          Reply
      1. Anna

        The OP is working on the idea that the intern framed the employee for the Amazon orders to get back at the employee for stealing the intern’s jacket. I think this is a Sweet Valley High plot.

        Reply
    9. TootsNYC

      and remember that our intern would have to not use ANY of the plastic cards in her wallet. And she’d have to throw the wallet itself away (not something I’m doing–I took a long time to find a wallet in the shape I like).

      That’s a lot of trouble when the intern is already able to get revenge by being loud about the idea that a staffer stole a jacket from the lowest person on the totem pole.

      Reply
      1. AMT

        “remember that our intern would have to not use ANY of the plastic cards in her wallet”

        This point is important! Amazon asks you to verify your credit card number and expiration date anytime you ship to a new address. You can’t do that unless you have the physical card (or have memorized the number and expiration, but how many people do that?).

        Reply
          1. Super Anon for This

            Yeah, but a bunch of people, like myself and others on this thread, don’t. I’d say chances are 50/50 that intern is one of those people which makes coworker’s story even less likely.

            Reply
  12. LawBee

    “good person who goes to church” and as a full-time employee stole a personal item from an intern. wtf. People make mistakes, but come ON. OP is definitely letting her personal relationship/knowledge of the staff member color her view. Also, is staff member coming back to work? I hope not.

    “But lots of people commit incredibly stupid crimes”
    A guy tried to rob the first ATM that was ever installed in our town. (yes, back in the 1970s) How? He tried to hold it up with a gun, and when that didn’t work – shot it. Apparently he thought someone was inside the machine doling out the cash? I think he ended up on one of those “American’s Dumbest Criminals” video shows.

    Reply
    1. K.

      I just laughed so loudly I had to clap my hand over my mouth because my office door is open. The mental image of this is HILARIOUS.

      Reply
    2. SarahKay

      About 15 years ago, when I worked retail, there was a member of staff who processed about £250 ($400) worth of fake refunds on their last day (they were leaving for other jobs, not being fired). The big drop in profit from the area was noticed and checked, the fraudulent refunds identified, and the (now ex-)staff member was called. Their response was: “Ha, nothing you can do, I don’t work for [Store] any more!”
      I gather that person were very shocked indeed to discover that in fact we could (and did!) call the police and report them for theft.
      Never underestimate just how stupid people can be about their crime.

      Reply
      1. Falling Diphthong

        Never underestimate just how stupid people can be about their crime.

        I’m reminded of The Stainless Steel Rat, who got himself captured for bank robbery so he could learn from all the brilliant master criminals packing his prison block, and instead found himself surrounded by not terribly bright people who couldn’t come up with a smarter plan.

        Reply
      2. Samata

        Not as funny as yours, but a co-worker of mine, Jane, got a credit card stolen out of her wallet. Jane found out pretty quickly and reported it at lunch. Turns out it was another co-worker…who left work, drove to the cable company and PAID HER OWN BILL with the stolen credit card.

        Reply
      3. many bells down

        What’s that saying about “never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity”? Sounds like that might be relevant to this letter. Attributing malicious revenge to the intern as opposed to just the thief being … not that clever.

        Reply
      4. Anastasia Beaverhausen

        Our star salesperson, beloved by all in the company, got nabbed for stealing the secretary’s credit card from her purse and going on a 2000 dollar shopping binge with it when she accidentally signed her own name to a large bar tab the same night. She was the highest paid person in the company and drove the car and had the wardrobe and the shoes and the hair to go with it. Her excuse was the cost of her daughter’s cheerleading camp had left her broke so she had no choice.

        Reply
    3. Comeswithcats

      I live in a very small town and our ATM (not plural, our only outdoor ATM) recently got vandalised. By people urinating on it. Yep. The individuals were caught on security camera and everyone knows who they are (again, small town). Even though they were caught on camera, some of them are still claiming it wasn’t them! Oh, and the individuals who committed the crime? A group of young women. Apparently one would hold the other one up so they could pee on the machine. Still not 100% sure how that works.

      Reply
      1. Anastasia Beaverhausen

        Well it took me 2x reading through to get a proper visual. I assume they were getting a boost to pee on the keypad portion that angles out? Now I know why ATMs are frequently going touchscreen and “seat-less.” jeez. You’re welcome for the visual. sorry!

        Reply
  13. CatCat

    “All that said … it would be awfully poor judgment to use your own name when ordering on someone else’s stolen credit card! It’s like robbing a house and leaving a signed note behind. If anything here makes me wonder about the intern’s version of events, it’s this..”

    This is totally believable to me. Most people who get caught for crimes are doing pretty stupid things easily traceable back to that person who did it. You just don’t see exciting news stories/TV shows/movies about this mundane stuff.

    Reply
        1. Jerry Vandesic

          I wonder what that job interview would sound like. “Tell me about how you navigated the transition from misdemeanor to felony.” “Tell me about your career plans. What do you expect to be stealing in five years?”

          Reply
          1. AMT

            I used to interview criminal defendants as a social worker. My inner monologue: “So you decided to rob someone in broad daylight…in a very distinctive outfit…with very distinctive facial scars…and then use the victim’s credit cards…and then deny to your lawyer that you were wearing that very distinctive outfit that day…when you were wearing that outfit at arraignment when he first met you (and photographed you in said outfit)?”

            Reply
            1. Lison

              I’ve a friend who works as a court stenographer and this one case was assault of a minor so the victim was giving evidence via video link so all they could see was the judge and the two lawyers and when asked how the victim knew it was the defendant who attacked them answered “well he has this really distinctive jacket” and described it whereupon all the courtroom looked at the defendant who was wearing that same jacket in court. The judge said to the defence “would you like to consult with your client?” Response was yes, quickly followed by a change of plea to guilty. There was no way the victim could have seen what the guy was wearing and it was a custom jacket so lesson learned is if guilty of a crime maybe wear a suit to court just to make sure you’re not wearing what you were when you committed the crime.

              Reply
        2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

          I always wondered what it would be like to have someone come in for an IS/IT interview, and his/her experience was writing sickware/malware/scumware, or browser Trojan/traps.

          That would be funny. The CV would use hokum for language, but if you read between the lines, you’d know.

          Reply
      1. AnonEMoose

        As a cop I knew once said “Most of these people ain’t exactly PhDs.” (Of course, I also know some PhDs who are a bit less than competent when it comes to practical stuff.)

        Reply
    1. LA

      Not to mention, the coworker was stupid enough to mention several times how much she liked the jacket before she stole it. Even if they hadn’t had video to prove she’d taken it, when intern noticed it was missing, the coworker had already made herself a suspect.

      Reply
      1. anon24

        Yes that jumped out at me too. I’m no thief but if you had a jacket I loved enough to steal from you I wouldn’t ever let you know I liked it beforehand. The co-worker is not devious at all.

        Reply
    2. Q

      Yeah, I can totally see someone putting their name on it because it’s being mailed to them. After all, most people don’t really know how to commit crimes cleanly—they don’t commit crimes often!

      Reply
      1. Chalupa Batman

        Exactly. Someone who doesn’t make a habit of committing major crimes (and OP obviously thinks the co-worker falls into that category) is very likely to make a dumb mistake when they do. As someone notes upthread, there’s a fair chance that the co-worker has been committing “small” thefts with a heavy dose of plausible deniability (“oh, I didn’t realize that was your Llamas Inc coffee mug, I have one just like it!”), and this is one of the first times she tried something a little more complex. I hope she really is a decent person who’s had issues come to a head and can get some help now….and that OP and the other co-workers can treat the intern fairly regardless of what they think of her personally.

        Reply
    3. queenbeemimi

      I mean, the coworker stole a jacket she had *openly admired* *multiple times*. Everyone is going to remember that kind of detail when the jacket “goes missing.” That’s not the work of someone with impressive critical reasoning skills. Plus, apparently didn’t realize her own workplace had cameras and would be able to review the footage. It kind of adds up, to me.

      Not that it’s impossible for Intern to be pulling some Gone Girl shit, but… when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, you know?

      Reply
      1. RabbitRabbit

        Exactly. It doesn’t take Columbo to figure out who might be a reliable jacket theft suspect when someone has been openly fawning over it.

        Reply
      2. Rainy, not-PI

        Many years ago, I worked for a company doing data entry after a huge warehouse fire once. (No one was hurt, thankfully.)

        The disgruntled ex-employee who did the arson A) had told everyone he knew that the company deserved to be burned down, B) bought the kerosene with a personal check (this was a long time ago), and C) had worked in the warehouse for several years and *still* confessed out of fright when the cops told him that the warehouse cameras had caught him setting the fire. There were no cameras. There had never been cameras. People: mostly not rocket surgeons.

        Reply
        1. Collarbone High

          Working in newspapers, I’ve edited stories about some incredibly dumb crimes, including a guy who killed his wife with a Benadryl enema. Among his errors: googling “how to kill without leaving a mark” on his personal laptop; buying all the supplies in one trip to the local Walmart, with a credit card; and disposing of the empty boxes and receipt in his kitchen trash.

          (Tip for cashiers: if someone buys an enema kit, 50 boxes of Benadryl, rope and a tarp, you should probably call the police.)

          Reply
      3. Blossom

        Do you know what, though, it would not occur to me to think “Oh, my jacket’s missing, Jane’s said she liked it, I guess she probably stole it”. I mean… who does that?! Well, the OP’s co-worker, evidently…

        Reply
        1. Anastasia Beaverhausen

          I have a favorite jacket and I know where it is basically at all times. It’s either on my body, in my closet, or on the back of my chair at work. Should it to go missing at work, knowing there was video footage available, I would definitely ask to check the footage to see where it might have wandered off to.

          Reply
    4. Marillenbaum

      Like all the people who end up getting caught breaking in to someone’s house because they updated their Facebook and it geotagged them.

      Reply
    5. Normally A Lurker

      I had my card number stolen once. They made one purchase, and were caught… bc they signed up for eharmony under their real name.

      Reply
      1. Akcipitrokulo

        My daughter’s contactless card was stolen. they caught the guys on CCTV openly making purchases with it in several different shops… seriously? Yeah, people can be incompetent.

        Reply
      2. Sunshine on a cloudy day

        Someone stole my cc number as well. The one thing they used it for was a Christian Singles account/membership.

        I admit – the night before the charged showed up I had been out with friends, having a few drinks. Possibly one too many. I’ve definitely woken up with a purchase or two on my card that I’m fuzzy about making (usually some strange combo of food or random, cheap Amazon items). However, as a pretty firm agnostic, it was one of the few charges that I could say 100%, without a doubt that I did not make.

        Reply
          1. Snark

            Funny you say this, because we got into a bottle of Malbec last night and there’s a cookbook on the way I don’t remember ordering for the goddamned life of me.

            Reply
            1. Snark

              EDIT: just to clarify, I wasn’t blackout drunk and perusing Mexican recipes, I just have no recollection of actually hitting buy now and doing that thing.

              Reply
              1. Rainy, not-PI

                When I do this, I don’t investigate too hard into what I’m receiving. It’s like a spontaneous gift from drunk!Rainy.

                Reply
      3. Mallory Janis Ian

        I had my university purchasing card compromised once a few years ago when some online thieves hit upon a run of active credit card numbers from our university. They bought an online dating subscription; some sexy lingerie and clothing from a Fredericks-of-Hollywood-type online store; and some sporting equipment. The university purchasing office closed all the cards that were affected and issued new ones. I don’t know whether the thieves were ever caught or not; they never tell us that sort of thing.

        Reply
        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

          I had an Omaha Steaks order on my credit card. There was something about Rahway, New Jersey and the only thing I know of in that town is a state prison.

          Reply
    6. Valkyrie Ice Queen

      I watched a Forensic Files once where the murdered got caught because after killing a woman, he jacked her cards, then bought some stuff down the street from where her car was, and SIGNED HIS OWN NAME ON THE CREDIT CARD RECEIPT.

      Reply
      1. Samata

        This is why I could never be a thief. When I go grocery shopping with partners card I have more than once switched names mid-signature becuase I am signing my own.

        I mean there are other reasons to not thieve, obviously, but this is pretty high up there on the list of things that would get me found out. Quickly.

        Reply
      2. Bagpuss

        I seem to recall a bank robbery few years ago where the robber brought a pre-written ‘hand over the money now’ note with him. He wrote it on the back of a letter he’d received which had his full name and address on

        Reply
    7. Turtle Candle

      Hah! Yeah, you don’t need to call in Jessica Fletcher for the person who stole your credentials and then made a bunch of easily-traceable purchases. Since the more challenging/difficult/dramatic crimes are more likely to make the news, we tend to, I think, overestimate the cleverness of most criminals.

      Reply
    8. Jessica

      Even the guy who perpetrated the Target breach was busted because his malware left a document behind with his email address on it–which he had also used on a forum for hackers, where his profile included his real name.

      Reply
      1. Jessica

        Although the reason he was able to get access in the first place is because a third-party vendor with Target clicked on a phishing email, which wasn’t caught because they only had the freeware version of Malwarebytes, instead of the paid version which would have been more up-to-date.

        And the breach STILL wasn’t caught because the $2M firewall on Target’s systems kept sending repeated emails to the security team over and over…and instead of checking it out, they assumed it was a false positive and turned the emails off.

        It’s dumbasses all the way down.

        Reply
    9. bookish

      This is believable to me because I actually was just a victim of credit card fraud and they immediately used it for the dumbest (meaning: most identifiable) things – insurance payments (for car insurance! I’ve never owned a car! And the payment was for more money than I even had in my bank account!), food delivery to their address, transportation, etc.

      So I definitely believe that someone would lack the foresight to use a different name, especially if the same person had publicly coveted the jacket a lot before stealing it, in view of a security camera.

      Reply
  14. Mustache Cat

    I definitely can’t help but feel that you’re blindly choosing to believe the staff member because you know her better than you know the intern. I’m guessing that, if the staff member denied taking the intern’s jacket, you would have believed her for that one, too. I’d suggest trying to keep an open mind, despite your personal feelings, and seeing what the police come down with.

    Reply
  15. nnn

    Also, it occurs to me that the Amazon orders were placed via an Amazon account. Unless it was a newly-created account, it was either Employee’s existing account or Intern’s existing account. The police would be able to look into this.

    Reply
    1. Sally Sparrow

      Oh, I didn’t even think of this. Who’s Amazon account was the stuff ordered on?

      I’m just imagining the crime drama where the intern secretly bates the CW into stealing her jacket. Then intern rapidly hacks into the CWs amazon account that way she can place a bunch of orders in CWs name to be delivered to a spot near their office with her credit card, just to make the CW pay for all that she wrought on the intern.

      Reply
      1. Lily

        Which the police probably did, because they pressed charges against coworker despite her presumably having told them the story about strange revenge.
        That means that they have enough prove to be reasonably sure it was the coworker who used the credit card.

        Reply
        1. Solidad

          From experience I can say there is some pretty substantial evidence that coworker stole the cards and used them or the cops and prosecutors would not be going forward.

          Proving these types of crimes and convincing a jury is notoriously difficult. In most cases of this type of theft being reported to the police, nothing is done except a report is filed.

          So the fact that there is a prosecution in the works makes me think there’s evidence and not just guesswork.

          Reply
      2. Lauren

        I had this exact same thought! The odds of one of them hacking into the other’s amazon account to make the purchases is very low. So whichever account was used is probably the person who made the purchases.

        Reply
    2. Normally A Lurker

      I’m also curious as to how they used the card. Amazon requires you have the address of the card being used (or at least the zip). So… the co-worker had that info?

      Like, on the surface, I feel like Intern is the one to believe here.

      And also, how did Coworker use the card on Amazon?

      (I still side with Intern here though)

      Reply
  16. Roscoe

    I guess I’m really not clear why you (and others) are so adamant that the intern is lying. The other person was caught on video stealing something. Yet it seems that you are taking her side over the person who is definitely a victim here. Even if you do believe your former co-worker, which again I don’t get, you shouldn’t even bring this up. This is a baseless allegation at this point.

    Reply
    1. Allison

      Some people feel it’s more “fair” to assume the accuser is lying, than it is to believe the accusation. Somehow it seems more neutral, like you’re at least a bit skeptical of both parties that way, but it isn’t, you’re taking a side either way.

      Reply
      1. CMDRBNA

        I feel like maybe the OP and the jacket thief are friends? Because the OP is going way out of her way to paint the intern as the villain here, instead of, you know, the thief.

        Having seen stuff like this happen in other places I’ve worked, I think a lot of the time managers just don’t want to have to do anything about problems, so it’s easier to be like well that was a momentary lapse of judgment, they’re a good person, they won’t do it again…basically convincing themselves it’ll be ok and they don’t have to do anything unpleasant or, god forbid, “confront” someone.

        I worked for a manager who would tie herself up into the most extraordinary semantic knots to convince you that a problem didn’t actually exist, and if it did it wasn’t that person’s fault, and if it was there were reasons nothing could be done, and anyway you were probably the one at fault because you complained about it, all because she was terrified of ever having to actually be a manager.

        Reply
  17. Lady Ariel Ponyweather

    It’s been a while since I ordered anything on Amazon, so correct me if I’m wrong: Wouldn’t the email address attached to the Amazon account give away who the culprit is?

    At any rate, you definitely can’t do anything about this one. It’s a mess of a situation, that’s for sure, and you and your whole office must be feeling unsettled. There might be other behavioural clues that could indicate who’s telling the truth, but chances are high you’re never going to find out. (My guess is that it’s all the co-worker, but that’s admittedly coloured by a similar experience in my past.)

    It is rough, though, and I sympathise with wanting to be loyal and supportive to your co-worker. You are far better off leaving the whole thing alone and treating the other issues with the intern separately.

    Reply
      1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather

        Oh yes, but I meant an email address or other account information that can prove who made the order. That’s probably not information anyone in the office would be able to access, but law enforcement probably can.

        Reply
      2. KitKat

        You don’t need a credit card statement, you just need to know whose account the items were ordered from. The way I see it there are 3 possibilities:
        Items ordered from coworkers account with interns CC – almost 100% proof that the coworker did it

        Items ordered from the interns account with the interns CC – huh, that’s weird, how would the coworker known the Interns login info – this scenario is the one wheee it is plausible the intern is lying.

        Items ordered from a “new” burner account with interns CC – this one could go either way, although Amazon can definitely tell the exact time the items were ordered so that might narrow things down a nit

        Reply
        1. Ramona Flowers

          Right but Amazon aren’t going to give that out.

          Pop fact: when you experience fraud and your card co covers it, they – not you – are treated as the victim and the info doesn’t get released to you. Over here, anyway.

          Reply
          1. blackcat

            Actually, I’m 90% sure that if I called amazon and said “I have a transaction number 12345678* on my credit card. [insert various information about the card/billing address/etc] What can you tell me about that order?” they would totally give out the information of 1) what was ordered and 2) to whom and where it was shipped to.

            I am 100% certain that the cops can obtain that information from amazon, in part because they could get a warrant. I would not at all be surprised if there is a clause in the amazon terms of service saying that they reserve the right to give out information to the cops even without a warrant.

            *You can generally obtain transaction ID numbers from the credit card company, even if it’s not on the bill.

            Reply
  18. LadyL

    W/r/t using your own name to buy stuff with a stolen card, yeah that’s pretty stupid, but you know what else is pretty stupid? Making a big deal about how much you like a jacket and then stealing that jacket. On camera. So really, who knows exactly how much bad judgement your coworker has? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    Honestly, this situation is a mess, I would stay as far out of it as you can. Let the police handle it, be wary and watchful, and thank your lucky stars that this had progressed to being out of your league (in terms of responsibility for office issues).

    Reply
    1. Rusty Shackelford

      W/r/t using your own name to buy stuff with a stolen card, yeah that’s pretty stupid, but you know what else is pretty stupid? Making a big deal about how much you like a jacket and then stealing that jacket. On camera. So really, who knows exactly how much bad judgement your coworker has?

      A fair point!

      Reply
  19. Lily

    By the way, the story the stealing person tells isn’t very credible: so, the intern noticed the jacket is gone, and started ordering stuff in the name of the coworker that had told her the jacket was pretty? As a revenge? And later it came known that it was indeed the coworker stealing the jacket? Why would the intern have guessed exactly that, and not assumed that anything else had happened, including misplacing the jacket, someone else accidently misplacing it while tidying up, someone else stealing the jacket?

    I mean, if my jacket went lost, I wouldn’t assume it was stolen by one person who happened to comment on it. If it was stolen, it could have been stolen by literally anyone else.
    The revenge story only made sense if the intern knew that the coworker stole it. Which she presumably didn’t until the police saw the vid. Which the police presumably took into account when deciding whether the coworker’s claims of credit card revenge could have any truth in it.

    Reply
    1. Caro in the UK

      I agree. The timeline needed to make the framing story plausible seems extremely improbable to me, unless there are some details messing from the letter.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        Yeah, I actually thought it was going to turn out that they were in it together and it was all planned; I couldn’t figure out how else it would happen in a way that would incriminate the intern.

        Reply
    2. Emily

      Right? I mean, I would think the time that the orders were placed would shed light on who placed them. However, having had to report a burglary to the police once myself, you’d be amazed on what the police won’t follow up on (I knew who did it, found the craigslist posting of the stolen property that included a phone number, and also got a picture of them that proved that they did it, and the police didn’t do anything at all).

      Reply
    3. Akcipitrokulo

      TBH my first assumption would be that I’d left it somewhere… in staffroom? Did I take it off in kitchen and forget it? Oh, (sweary words) did I leave it on the train?

      Reply
    4. Sunflower

      I also can’t help but pick up a bit of annoyance that the police were involved.

      Two thoughts-
      A lost jacket…my thoughts would probably be oh shoot I lost it/someone took it. I would most likely chalk that up to a loss. However if my credit cards were in there OF COURSE I would report it.

      My only other guess is I can’t help but wonder if intern had to get the police involved bc her claim wasn’t being taken seriously.

      Reply
    5. TootsNYC

      Well, she didn’t have to place the orders immediately. We don’t know when the wallet was reported missing, or when the jacket was returned.

      From the OP: “the intern went to security and the footage from the lobby and parking area showed the staff member taking the jacket to her car when most other people were in a meeting. The intern got the police involved and told them her wallet with all of her ID and credit/debit cards were in her pocket.”
      So it sounds like the coworker actually drove away with the jacket.

      It could have worked like this:
      Coworker steals jacket (A: it doesn’t have wallet in the pocket–orB: it does, and coworker removes wallet from pocket)
      Intern discovers jacket is missing, discovers that Coworker took it.
      Then we diverge:
      A: Intern plans to frame coworker; places orders. Then tells cops, “I’ve realized my wallet was in that jacket pocket, and Coworker must have placed these orders”
      B: Coworker late places orders using card; intern sees charges, tells cops.

      There was probably a gap of time.
      But considering that the intern was trying to figure out where her jacket was, it’s far more likely that the person who was proven to be a thief was actually a thief.

      Reply
  20. Sally Sparrow

    I dunno. I just feel like it is too elaborate to make up. I mean CW steals the interns jacket. Did the Intern KNOW the CW stole it? She would have had to have known the CW was going to steal her jacket before she could go online and place a bunch of amazon orders in CWs name.

    And then new getting new credit cards is sufficiently annoying because then the intern wouldn’t be able to buy anything herself (and its not like interns are rolling in cash).

    I suppose intern could have ran back to her desk to place a bunch of Amazon orders as revenge after viewing the security footage. That just would not be my first inclination after seeing that my CW stole my jacket. I’m pretty sure my first thought would be I want be freaking jacket back.

    Reply
  21. Lady Phoenix

    Yeah, I don’t care of the Coworker goes to church, I would definitely pin her for credit card fraud too. She has already proven to be a thief, and why would to the intern have a reason to make it look like fraud when they already got their stuff stolen.

    OP, take off the blind goggles and realize you coworker is not honest.

    Reply
    1. Bow Ties Are Cool

      In fact, one could argue that a thief, if at all religious, would be more likely to attend church than an honest person, being more in need of forgiveness…

      Reply
    2. DCGirl

      The person who was the most unpleasant to me, day in and day out, at my last job was married to a preacher and was proudly listed as the church’s “First Lady” on its website. I used to hope that she would be smote by a bolt of lightning as she sat in the front pew.

      Reply
    3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

      A bunch of co-workers at one place I worked, all attended the same church. Long story short – they were TAKEN, by a new church member, a “financial consultant” – who offered “investments ONLY available to born-again Christians.”

      When holy advisor and his wife disappeared for a “short spell” (meaning = forever), they were still confident he’d be back.

      Then they saw a segment on one of the religious shows – informing them that such “investments” are ILLEGAL – and run the other way if you’re offered something like this.

      Reply
  22. Chriama

    I feel like there’s more nuance to the story that the OP hasn’t articulated. Coworker *stole* a jacket from the intern, but your belief is that the intern framed her for credit card fraud? I don’t understand it. I’m wondering if there’s either
    – another reason to dislike or distrust the coworker
    – inclination to not believe that someone you know and like could be a thief
    – wanting to side with the old and familiar over the new and uncomfortable (I’m reminded of family members of someone convicted of a crime who want to cover up or make excuses for why it happened)

    It’s just… the coworker stole a jacket from the office, in full view of the security cameras. Where was she planning to wear it? Did she really think the coworker wouldn’t notice? What sort of other ethical lapses has she had over time (I mean, come on! There’s no way this is her first crime)? Why would you believe her when there’s clear evidence of her dishonesty already?

    Reply
    1. Some sort of Management Consultant

      Yes, is there something else about the intern that is making the LW accused her of this? What are we missing, LW?

      (I hope we’re missing some vital piece of information because it doesn’t really make sense to me at ALL right now.)

      Reply
    2. WhiteBear

      Exactly! If the thief was dumb enough to steal what sounds like a statement item from a coworker in plain view and not even try to hide it in a bag or anything, then I wouldn’t put it passed them to place online orders using a stolen credit card while also using her real name as the recipient. Such a devastating lapse in judgement by this person… and for what? A jacket?

      Reply
    3. Chriama

      One other possibility is that OP noticed a conflict between the coworker and the intern *and* the intern has shown a tendency towards vindictiveness (and her reaction to the theft doesn’t count, I mean come on!) that she believes the intern capable of this because she’s seen similar behaviour before.

      Reply
      1. Observer

        It still honestly does not make sense. The intern would have had to realize what had happened before getting the security footage and make the orders immediately, creating a new account / email to make it happen. As well as the fact that even someone vindictive could find better ways of getting back at someone than taking this risk.

        Reply
    4. The IT Manager

      It occurred to me that the coworker may be a serial shoplifter. IDK why. Maybe because the low stakes, not expensive items shoplifting is similar to stealing the jacket.

      I don’t think the coworker was aiming for the wallet, but when she found it in the jackets pocket she said “jackpot” and tried to order things online.

      Reply
      1. Amy

        This line
        “Her husband has told me that her lawyer advised her to take plea to get less time in jail because a trial would not be good for her.”

        Makes me wonder if it’s just the video of her stealing the jacket or if she has a record of some other petty crime. I mean the video by itself is a compelling argument.

        Reply
        1. Lilo

          “Less time in jail” stands out to me. You usually don’t get jail time for minor theft in a first offense. How much stuff was ordered off Amazon?

          Reply
          1. Lilo

            Which of course makes coworker even less credible. Surely you would fight a charge thatbresulyed in jail time versus a misdemeanor (jacket theft) that did not.

            Reply
            1. Alton

              Eh, yes and no. It’s not uncommon for people to be pressed to take a plea deal because going to trial and losing could result in a hefty sentence. Sometimes there can be a lot of unknowns with going to trial, and people have plead guilty to things even when there was no evidence they committed a crime. But things like economic status and quality of representation can play a big role in that.

              It wouldn’t surprise me if the police have pretty good evidence in this case, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if the coworker felt that the theft of the jacket was damning enough to want to avoid a trial on the other charges regardless of how strong the evidence is.

              The revenge story is just kind of outlandish. Stranger things have happened, but it’s like something you’d see in an old Perry Mason episode.

              Reply
              1. Zip Zap

                Or it could be that in a trial, other damaging things about her character would be brought up and added to the public record. That’s one reason some people avoid trials.

                Reply
          2. Solidad

            Also, cops do not go after this type of theft and prosecutors do not push forward without absolute, irrefutable evidence of guilt.

            These are tough cases to put in front of a jury. You don’t do it unless you are sure.

            I’m also fairly certain this woman is known to the police and/or prosecutors given the response.

            Reply
        2. CDM

          This.

          This screams “Lawyer knows client committed ID fraud and credit card theft”

          Not

          “Lawyer knows client walked off with a jacket almost certainly worth under $500.”

          Reply
        3. The Annoyingly Alliterative Athiest

          To me, that line shows that the manager in question is involved with the co-worker outside the workplace, and is probably biased in their favor. I’m guessing their social circles overlap, and wouldn’t be surprised if that overlap involved a church.

          Reply
    5. Claire

      With the “was she planning on wearing it” comment – waaaay back in 5th grade a friend stole a necklace from my bedroom. She then wore it and when I said “That’s my necklace,” she said it was hers. It was like $10 from Old Navy, and not a precious family heirloom, so it’s possible she went out and bought it herself, but I doubt it because it was ~ a year old and stores rotate inventory so quickly. Maybe the coworker here would be smart enough not to wear the jacket to work, but she might have been bold enough to wear it to work, because like that friends of mine, coworker would have seen the jacket as being her property now.

      Reply
      1. Anastasia Beaverhausen

        Wow you are so right. I’ve worked with people who absolutely would do that. One was a nut who lived in her head and whatever made sense in there, she would insist to the last breath was the honest truth. Another was just that bold and hateful. I don’t know. I have a different makeup I guess. I just try to get along and get through the day and not bring work home with me. I’ve never understood people who are happy to screw you over and not be the least bit bothered.

        Reply
    6. Fiennes

      I’m curious about this point as well, bc the OP says other coworkers have concerns about the intern as well. While on the balance it seems much more likely that the thief coworker is guilty for it all, what exactly makes others wary about the intern? If it’s just a matter of the churchgoing thief being known/popular, then that’s not valid. But if the intern has shown past behavior that would actually point to something like this, it really needs to be part of the post.

      My personal guess is that the other concerns about the intern are more work-related than genuinely worthy about suspicion. Which brings up an interesting point: management may be giving the intern an unmerited full-time job only to make it up to her about the workplace theft. Guilt and/or fear of liability (?? Unsure) could be the drivers here — in which case, the thieving coworker can be guilty as sin AND the intern’s job offer should be examined more closely.

      Maybe that’s not applicable at all, but I wonder about it.

      Reply
  23. WhiteBear

    While yes, placing an order in your name using a stolen credit card is incredibly stupid and is the only fishy part about the intern’s version of events, those packages were sent not to someone’s house, but to a pickup point. Which means in order to collect those packages, you would have to present i.d. So I don’t think this discredits the intern. Also, it seems way more far-fetched that this is an intricate revenge plotted by the intern. Until she saw the footage of the coworker taking the jacket she would not have been able to credibly accuse the coworker, so unless she was making these claims before seeing the video, I wouldn’t have grounds to call her a liar.

    Reply
    1. Snark

      “Which means in order to collect those packages, you would have to present i.d. ”

      Not necessarily, as I noted above. The new Amazon Lockers they’re putting in convenience stores are unlocked with a PIN sent to the contact email on the account. Punch in PIN, door pops open, and off you go. Now, you ARE on a camera when doing all this, so I assume the police are pulling those tapes. But you don’t necessarily need ID.

      Reply
        1. Snark

          You can do returns with them as well. I got a pair of pants the wrong size, put them back in the box, returned them to the locker, bought some gummi bears, and got a notification on my phone that the return had been processed and refunded before I walked out of the store. It was one of those little moments where you go,”y’know, we don’t have hoverboards, but this IS kinda the future.”

          Reply
            1. Snark

              They don’t have them where you’re at? Maybe it’s a US-only thing. I adore it, because there’s one in the gas station a few blocks from my house, and I buy ALL THE THINGS on Amazon.

              Reply
              1. Joan Callamezzo

                Same. There’s an Amazon Locker right at the supermarket where I do most of my grocery shopping. It literally could not be more convenient.

                Reply
          1. Loose Seal

            It’s way more useful than a hover board, if you ask me.

            I am still waiting for my self-driving, all-knowing black Trans Am, though.

            Reply
          1. GermanGirl

            It’s great and I used to get my stuff delivered to the locker at the train station so I could carry it home from there.
            Except when the locker at the train station is full, DHL will just put your stuff in the next available locker which in my case was 3 miles out the wrong way from the train station, so I’d have to walk there and back and then home with the stuff.

            Reply
        2. Anastasia Beaverhausen

          They’re outside all the 7-11 stores in my neighborhood and they all have names. One is named “Truffle.” :)

          Reply
    2. ChurchLady

      Nope. My apartment building has a locker system. You get a code by email. You “sign” for the package and the locker is supposed to take a picture of you, but you can sideswipe that easily. I’ve never had an issue with a missing package, despite the shortcomings, but I wouldn’t count on it for an “investigation” necessarily

      There is also a large parcel locker, where multiple big boxes can be stored and you’re only supposed to take your own. Never had a problem with that either, because I don’t need to steal stuff, nor do my neighbors, apparently.

      Reply
    3. Jessica

      I’m not a thief, but I do work in e-commerce and am reasonably technologically adept. It would be fairly simple to:

      1. Steal the jacket
      2. Find the wallet, conveniently with ID and credit cards
      3. Set up a throwaway email address in Intern’s name
      4. Set up Amazon account in Intern’s name and order a bunch of crap
      5. When asked to define recipient, plug in the correct info of thief
      6. Designate an Amazon locker to pick stuff up
      7. Pick it up with matching ID

      Although why someone would be technologically comfortable enough to do those things, but not understand intrinsically that it leaves a giant flashing neon arrow pointing right at them for anyone to figure out with a police report and a call to Amazon, I have no idea. Not to mention that the thief would HAVE the ill-gotten goods in their possession, having conveniently picked them up with their perfectly legitimate ID.

      I’d be willing to bet that this isn’t the first time Coworker stole stuff, though. If she “volunteers” a lot, how many church people have had stuff mysteriously go missing?

      Reply
  24. Allison

    If IT knows where the orders were placed, how do you not know who used that computer at the time the orders were placed? Also, whose account was used to place the orders?

    That said, it does strike me as odd that the intern left their wallet with their ID and credit cards in the pocket of their jacket inside the car. That’s an item that’s on me pretty much at all times. And the employee had motive to steal the jacket, but the credit card theft would have been a crime of convenience – if they just wanted the jacket, wouldn’t it have been smart to empty the pockets first? But stealing an item belonging to a coworker seems dumb, unless you plan on never wearing it to work, otherwise it looks way too convenient that you happen to have a new coat that looks just like the one that went missing.

    Thinking out loud, I guess. Whatever happened definitely wasn’t a perfect crime,

    Reply
    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      I don’t think the intern left their items in the car. It sounds like the coworker stole the intern’s jacket (which had her wallet in it) from her seat/area in the office, and then the coworker placed the intern’s jacket in the coworker’s car.

      Reply
    2. Another Day Another Dolla

      I believe the light-fingered co-worker was caught taking the jacket from the office to the car, so the intern left her jacket (and wallet) in the office…And I don’t think anyone understands what was going on in the co-worker’s mind in taking the jacket. BTW if this is a real change in personality/behavior, the co-worker should perhaps see a neurologist or other doctor; there could be a reason for the change.

      Reply
    3. The IT Manager

      The intern left her IDs etc in her jacket pocket at her desk. I leave my purse on, near, in my desk at work. I don’t worry about a coworker being a thief.

      Reply
        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          I think we all posted at the same time, and because the comment section is blowing up, it’s coming across as haranguing :( An inadvertent pile-on—apologies!

          Reply
          1. Allison

            Nah, it’s my fault, it’s everyone’s responsibility to get all the facts before commenting on the post, especially if you speculate like I did, which is also not great.

            Reply
    4. MI Dawn

      She didn’t leave her jacket in the car. The stealing coworker (SC) was caught on camera taking the jacket out to her OWN car. I’m assuming the intern left her jacket hanging over her chair at her desk or something similar.

      We don’t know when the Amazon orders were placed, but if it was the same day as the jacket, I’d wonder when they were placed – during the same time everyone but SC was in a meeting? Before then (so placed by intern)? After then? (so placed by SC)?

      I can see (because I have an evil mind) – one way the intern makes out. Intern places the orders, and, as she goes into the meeting, tells SC – you like my jacket so much, you are welcome to go ahead and take it. Comes out, cries theft, and is all golden. (Yes, I know SC supposedly admitted to the theft – but did she say “Yes, I stole the jacket? Or did she just admit to taking the jacket and no one believed the intern told her she could)

      Reply
        1. teclatrans

          Allison, it’s okay, folks misread posts all the time. (The corrections are usually being typed at the same time, then show up as one correction after another after another, which can feel a bit as though people are really hung up on the error.)

          Reply
        2. MI Dawn

          Sorry, Allison! You didn’t deserve a pile-on for a simple misread. (Says the Queen of Misreads- my friends CONSTANTLY tease me about it). When I started my comment, no one else had commented. Next time, I’ll make sure to refresh before posting.

          Reply
      1. teclatrans

        Hm, nice theory, but it falls apart when you remember that she took the jacket out to her car in the middle of the work day (while everyone was in a meeting). If Intern had given her the jacket, the reasonable thing to do would be to take it home at the end of day.

        Reply
  25. Dumb crimes

    Wow, what a mess. Who the hell STEALS a jacket from someone they work with?

    Also, speaking of dumb workplace crimes, in college I worked at a sandwich shop for about a month and then quit when I got a higher paying job at an office. A month or two into my new job, I went to buy something with my debit card and got declined. When I went to look at my bank account, I found that I was overdrawn due to a $500 check being cashed. When my bank sent me a copy of the check, I found that it was written to a former coworker of mine at the sandwich shop. She stole a check out of my purse and wrote it to herself.

    The funniest thing? When forging my signature, she misspelled my name. My name, spelled correctly, was on the upper lefthand corner of the check, of course. What a f***ing idiot.

    Reply
    1. Snark

      “Who the hell STEALS a jacket from someone they work with?”

      My college roommate’s best friend stole my ski jacket. I went to his room when his roomie was there and he wasn’t and stole it back.

      Reply
      1. K.