Lufkin Police arrested a woman on a charge of theft following accusations she had taken clothes and a purse from her workplace.

Cierra McKneely of Nacogdoches is charged with theft in an amount between $2,500 and $30,000. Police arrested her Monday, and she posted bond later in the day. This is McKneely’s only arrest in Angelina County.

The affidavit for McKneely’s arrest states she had taken $5,500 in property from her workplace, Belk. On July 2, LPD officers arrived at the store about a report of a theft.

One of the managers said McKneely took a purse from the back of the store before fraudulently returning it to put the currency on a gift card. She then repurchased the item with the gift card, according to the report. Internal investigations indicated this had happened before.

A manager at the store said McKneely, along with four other employees, had been terminated for theft. None of the others charges were as serious as McKneely’s. The manager said he would compile a list of evidence to give to LPD, and also provided officers with a CD recording of an interview in which McKneely apparently confessed to the thefts. Following the confession, the manager let McKneely return home to return the stolen goods.

Officers spoke with McKneely next, who said she had stolen the purse and about $5,000 in merchandise and $400 in gift cards, the affidavit states. Days later, LPD received Belk’s compiled evidence which included a written statement in which McKneely explained the reasoning behind the thefts — she said her parents had kicked them out of the house and she needed clothes and supplies before her sister returned to school. She also vowed not to steal again in that statement.

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