Woman charged with gas station theft

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   A Roan Mountain woman has been charged in connection with the theft of more than $8,000 from a convenience store where she was employed.
   Michelle Nelson, 24, 108 Teaberry Road, was charged with theft over $1,000 in the March theft which occurred at the Roan Mountain Appco service station.
   According to reports, on March 29, Carrie Mathis, the manager of the service station, reported to the Carter County Sheriff's Department that a bank deposit bag containing $8,252 in cash and $113.12 in checks was missing from the store. Mathis had prepared the bank bag for deposit on March 28 and left it at the store for the assistant manager to make the deposit.
   Nelson and another employee of the store were both working at the store on the night of March 28. "Around 9:30 p.m., Michelle Nelson told her co-worker that she was going to go outside behind the store and get some cups that were stored in a building behind the store," states a police report on the incident prepared by CCSD Inv. Laverne Julian. "Also behind the store is another storage room that contains the main electricity breaker to the store."
   According to the report, Nelson had keys to both buildings in her possession at the time of the incident.
   "While Michelle was behind the store the power went off inside the business. This power outage also shut off the surveillance camera inside the store," states the report. "It was found that the power was shut off by pulling the main breaker in the storage room behind the store, where Michelle Nelson was. Witnesses state it was approximately five minutes after the power went off before Michelle Nelson returned inside the store."
   Nelson then contacted Mathis by phone and informed her of the power outage, according to reports. Mathis along with a maintenance man responded to the store to attempt to fix the power outage.
   When the maintenance man attempted to get into the storage room where the main breaker was, he discovered that the key to the door was missing off the store's key ring, which Nelson had in her possession.
   "Due to the fact that Michelle Nelson had in her possession the keys to the room where the power was shut off at the time of the power outage and then once back inside the store was left alone, which gave her opportunity to take the money, there is enough probable cause for her to be charged with theft over $1,000," writes Julian in his report.
   Nelson is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on June 1.