LJWorld.com weblogs The Lawrence Crime Blotter

Former Wal-Mart manager convicted of stealing $12,000


A former manager of Lawrence's Wal-Mart store this morning entered a plea to a charge that he embezzled more than $12,000 from the store last summer by falsifying refunds.During a hearing in District Court, James Richard Chappelle pleaded no contest to one count of felony theft. He will be sentenced Feb. 23 and likely faces probation, but he will be ordered to repay the money. Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Claus said the evidence included videotape of Chappelle "creating false refund receipts and then pocketing the money." Claus said that Chappelle admitted stealing $12,309.Initial police reports last fall indicated that Chappelle, age 44 at the time of his arrest, was arrested after an internal audit discovered $34,945.44 missing from the store. -contributed by [Eric Weslander.][1] [1]: http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/eric_weslander


neighbal 11 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if the police claim he was taking the cash to the yellowhouse


girly 11 years, 5 months ago

That's really sad, because when you hear of something like this, you know the person must have really been in a bad situation and didn't see any other way out. It's rarely just greed.

cutny 11 years, 5 months ago

Oh what a wit you are BH73...uh...you owe me a new keyboard for making me spew coffee by laughing so hard with your sharp insight. Unfortunately if I was relying on Wal-mart wages I would probably be forced to resort to ripping them off as well.

mom_of_three 11 years, 5 months ago

I am not sure if it is so much sad as it is stupid.
How many times did he think he would get away with it? To steal over $12,000 by falsifying refunds must have been 1000's of refunds. (because most people don't do large returns).
Plus, if you refund for an item, the item is usually returned to your inventory, either to be returned to your floor or returned to the vendor. There would be an inventory discrepancy. (You can't explain all discrepancies with shoplifting) Even though he may have had a situation he had to get out of, it comes down to greed, because he was stealing.
Now, he gets to pay the price. And who is going to hire him now? If he was in a bad monetary situation before (to resort to theft), imagine what it is now without an income to support himself and his family.

rubix 11 years, 5 months ago

I used to do investigative loss prevention for Target stores, and you would actually be surprised some of the reasons behind people's motivations to do it. Most find that it becomes an addictive habit to feed another habit develped from the fraud, usually non-drug related though-if that was what you were inferring. The thing about it is that there is simple math to figure out history and total loss caused. Usually earlier in their career (theft/fraud wise) there are sporadic periods of low incident, which lead up to a more frequent pattern; even every day (or multiple times a day). Once you figure this out, the most time consuming part is backtracking to see if you can find as much of the history as possible. Everyone always thinks the lower paid employees are always the ones who steal money and merchandise, but much of the time, the investigations rarely reach management levels because most people would assume a manager is the most trustworthy person in a building. Not true, they have access to almost every asset in a building and most likely know the loopholes to cover their tracks enough that a loss won't show up for months, if ever. There have been many cases where management has been involved with huge losses upward of over $100,000 in isolated cases. And in reference to the Yellow House fencing operation, I was part of the team that initialized communication and cooperation with the Douglas County Investigative Unit that tracked that and the drug connections involved with the operation several years ago. We provided some partnerships that included merchandise staging and data to help them track stolen and fenced merchandise through the doors of Yellow House.

craigers 11 years, 5 months ago

He should be able to make that money up in no time with the new minimum wage!!

introversion 11 years, 5 months ago

This dude made more than 100 K a year on salary, drove cars and trucks from Aristocrat motors, and built a brand new house in JO county in the last couple years. Hope the extra 12 grand and the embarrassment of the hundreds of people who worked under him finding out he's a crook is worth it. I guess I know how he could afford those famous alligator skin boots now... or were they ostrich?

feeble 11 years, 5 months ago

rubix - it shouldn't be a surprise that management might be involved in such cases. As anyone involved in security knows, if there is physical access to the asset, there is risk of the asset being compromised.

angel4dennis 11 years, 5 months ago

I can't believe they are only giving him probation. I don't care that the prisons are full, he needs to bunk there for awhile. He affected a lot of people with this crime. I have family that work at that Walmart and they work very hard. Because of him, there were never any bonuses given, no raise increases and it trickles down from there. My family has been there for almost 10 years, it is not a bad place to work at all, however when you have managers like this one, it is hard. Every year, Walmart gives a bonus to stores that make or exceed their profit margins in sales that year. We all know that there is only 1 Walmart in Lawrence at this time and they do thousands of dollars in business every year, especially being a low income and college town. They should have received their bonuses for many years but did not because poor management and theft, not only of this one that was caught. So yes, I am angry that he is only getting probation because I have seen the disappointment and struggles that my family has had to face with the little money that is made. The sacrifices that were made for us were tremendous. I hope many people are angry with Richard Chappelle. Introversion is right on!!! He was driving another new car last time I saw him before all this started. Selfish man! If probation is all he gets, this system of justice is weak and unfair to those blue collar workers that give their blood, sweat, and tears.

suesay 11 years, 5 months ago

you crack me up, introversion; Richard in his yellow shirt, jeans, and boots. ah, memories.

i think that Richard was a crooked, two faced person. i have many examples from the 5 years that i worked there to back this up, but they're probably pretty boring and unimportant to the other readers here.

i'd love nothing more than to be able to call Richard up and tell him what an a-hole and hypocrite he is for judging me and treating me the way he did. hopefully he knows this already, but i doubt the thought has crossed his self-righteous mind.

i'd also love to hear how the dumb sheep on the management team feel after shamelessly kissing Richard's [feet] all those years.

institches 11 years, 5 months ago

it is called sentencing guidelines.. no criminal history, with certain non person felonies, probation..

girly 11 years, 5 months ago

Okay, guess I was wrong.... sounds like plain ol' greed.

rubix 11 years, 5 months ago

Most of you are missing the important point (according to most highly paid individuals, no matter how they aquire their money). Money becomes more important than almost anything else when it comes to crime. If you can afford to have people get you out of trouble, then it doesn't matter to you who must suffer because of your selfishness. Its not about the morality of the issue, but rather if someone will always bail you out of trouble when you decide to do the things you really shouldn't.

ranger73 11 years, 5 months ago

Note to everyone- remember Wittig/Lake and Westar? Like Rubix and Feeble said, management is where you have the most access, knowledge of how to beat the system, and temptation. Unfortunately, they also have access to the best legal representation and if any jail time is served, it's at some place like Palm Springs minimum security resort and day spa for white collar criminals.

bevy 11 years, 5 months ago

OK - how did I miss the bit about Yellow House being a fencing operation? That explains why they would neither exchange or refund my $$ on the used A/C unit I bought from them a couple years ago. IN spite of the "guarantee" they claimed they had when I bought it.

I heard a few weeks later that someone passed them a fake $100 bill. Figured it was Karma.

As for Mr. C. at WalMart - since my fiance' works there now I'm glad they got rid of this guy. For myself, I try to shop there as little as possible, since they have killed off more local businesses than any other corp in history.

suesay 11 years, 5 months ago

i'll be the first person to tell you that i am.

actually, my bitterness towards walmart isn't so much for Richard as for my immediate manager who screwed me over.

Richard was a piece of work though. but who can blame him? maybe the evil empire turned him into what he is today. maybe he hated walmart as much as many other people do, and he wanted to do what he could to screw the company out of something. i can't say that i didn't do the same.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 5 months ago

Always the lowest price, Always. Thank you, Lynn

Commenting has been disabled for this item.