COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Nine Midlands movie theater employees are facing felony charges because of a plan alleged by police to use a gift card promotion to steal thousands of dollars.
Columbia Police investigators were called to the Carmike Wynnsong on Forest Drive after they say the manager became suspicious. Just days into the promotion, all of the gift cards and the cash were gone.
Police said the employees, including an assistant manager, were in a conspiracy to use the theater's promotion to buy $25 gift cards for just $20 to turn a profit.
Investigators say the employees bought more than $30,000 worth of cards in just four days and used them to buy tickets, which they then turned back in for refunds to steal more than $6,000 from the theater.
"They were under the impression that it was untraceable," CPD investigator Joseph Ross said. "But they didn't realize that every time they touched their computer screen, it makes a record. So what the manager could do, once they realized it was a problem, was go back and look and see the number every single time it was purchased, then filled, then used."
Maleesia Ragins, 19, is the only employee who has been arrested so far. However, the rest have agreed to turn themselves in and to pay back what was stolen.
Charges include criminal conspiracy, which is a felony, along with breach of trust.