According to Sheriff James Williams, Ashley M. Burgess, 19, of West Jefferson has been charged with filing a false police report as well as larceny by an employee.
On the night that Burgess reported the robbery, she allegedly tore loose the phone lines that ran into the store and proceeded to place an undisclosed amount of cash into her vehicle. After securing the money, Burgess then proceeded to use her cell phone to report an armed robbery, Williams said.
Burgess originally told authorities that an unidentified white male wearing blue jeans, a dark hooded sweatshirt and a bandanna entered the store shortly after 8:30 p.m. According to Burgess, the assailant proceeded to brandish a firearm and ordered Burgess to fill a bag with cash from the register. Burgess also stated that the suspect appeared to leave on foot. When officers arrived on the scene, a K-9 unit was dispatched to see if a possible ‘scent’ or trail. Officers reported shortly afterward that a trail ended a short distance from the store.
Officers now believe that Burgess fabricated the entire report and was responsible for the missing cash.
Sheriff Williams stated that there were several “red flags” in her story from when the investigation began. “Things just didn’t add up from the very beginning,” Williams said.
Burgess was released on an unsecured bond. Her first appearance in court was scheduled Thursday. Williams disclosed that the string of break-ins that occurred at the store earlier this fall was still under investigation.