Iowa City police: O'Reilly Auto Parts employee stole $11,000 from business

Woman found or created extra inventory items, returned them to three credit cards

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A former employee of O’Reilly Auto Parts in Iowa City faces a first-degree theft charge after police said she stole more than $11,000 over a nearly two-year period from her employer.

Jennifer Rebecca Hauser, 35, of North Liberty, was arrested after her employer discovered the crime and confronted her about it on Aug. 28, according to an Iowa City police criminal complaint.

Hauser admitted to O’Reilly’s loss and prevention officers and to police detectives that she had been stealing from the company through fraudulent returns onto personal credit cards, according to the complaint.

A follow-up investigation revealed Hauser stole from O’Reilly Auto Parts between September 2010 and July 2012, police reported. She is accused of finding or creating extra items in inventory and returning them onto one of three credit cards, according to a complaint.

She used item numbers as if she were a customer making returns to the store, police reported. That action balanced the inventory and kept the scam hidden for months, according to the complaint.

Loss and prevention officers confronted Hauser about the theft in August, and a review of her three credit card accounts shows the theft totaled $11,013.17, according to police.

First-degree theft is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Hauser was released from the Johnson County Jail on Thursday morning.

Hauser has a criminal history in Iowa that includes an assault causing bodily injury conviction in 2001 and an assault with intent to inflict serious injury conviction in 2002. She also was charged with felony robbery in 2001, but that charge was dropped.

Hauser has at least two minor theft convictions in Iowa, and a handful of convictions for simple assault, drug and alcohol charges.

Hauser could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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