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Kmart jewel theft thought to be inside job'

By Staff
Staff Report
According to a report filed with the Atmore Police Department, more than $22,000 in jewelry was stolen two weeks ago from Kmart's jewelry department, in what is believed to be an "inside job" according to the police report.
Various items of jewelry were reported missing when James Strength, loss prevention manager for Atmore Kmart, called in to the Atmore Police Department saying that the theft occurred on or around Feb. 9 or Feb. 10.
The items did not show up in a store inventory, Strength reported to the APD.
The report was filed on Feb. 12, 2002 with the Atmore Police Department.
At the time the report was obtained from the APD, no additional information was available regarding the status of the case.
According to the police report obtained by The Atmore Advance, "Mr. Strength advised that it is possibly an inside job." The report further states, "Mr. Strength advised that Kmart will cooperate in any way possible."
Items stolen are listed as 44 various items including gold and diamond rings, chains and bracelets.
The police report indicates that several items were turned over to the investigator in the case to be checked for fingerprints.
The theft comes a few short weeks after the announcement that Atmore's Kmart is not on a long list of planned store closings following the company's very public bankruptcy filing in late January.
The filing followed the announcement that a major food distributor to Kmart, Fleming Co., was one of the vendors to cut off deliveries to the company's stores.
The Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing has investors and analysts uncertain of the future of Kmart operations nationwide.
Despite the grim news last month, Atmore store manager Randall Shuttlesworth said operations at the store would not be interrupted and was optimistic about the future.
"There won't be any employee cutbacks or layoffs," said Shuttlesworth, following the announcement. "We'll run normal business. Basically, that's what our company has told us to do."
The report was filed by APD officer Lennard Conley with Scott Walden assisting.
Neither Shuttlesworth nor Atmore Acting Police Chief Bruce Lovette could be reached for comment at press time Saturday afternoon.
According to reports obtained by the Atmore Police Department, the theft case remains under investigation.