BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Target employee Becky Fernandez received a call at the Stockdale Highway store from someone she didn’t know telling her the store director needed a package delivered, and tens of thousands of dollars were needed to complete the transaction.
Believing him, Fernandez took $40,000 from the safe, put it in a box and took it to a location near a fast food restaurant on Buena Vista Road, where she handed the money to a man in a gray van, she told police.
It wasn’t until after she returned to work she realized she may have made a mistake, Fernandez told investigators according to court documents released Friday. She claims she was scammed; prosecutors say she’s a thief.
Fernandez, 37, has pleaded not guilty to a felony embezzlement charge stemming from the Dec. 27 incident. She’s out on bail and has a court hearing scheduled in March.
Target officials told investigators Fernandez is an executive team leader with access to the store’s safe, but “it is not normal practice for any employee to remove currency from the safe to make a cash drop.” Fernandez didn’t check with store management before taking the money.
Fernandez said she gave the caller her cellphone number after he called the store, according to the documents. Police reviewed her text messages, which named the amount of money needed from the store’s safe, including one telling her to take an extra $10,000 to split between herself and “the lawyer,” the filings say.
Officers took Fernandez back to the location where she said the transaction occurred. She said it happened in a parking lot east of a Taco Bell, an area where officers noted there are no security cameras, the documents say.
Fernandez told officers she didn’t want to talk at her workplace, but agreed to an interview at police headquarters, the filings say. Once they got there, however, she asked for an attorney. She was placed under arrest and booked into jail.