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Eagle Point man faces chargesin theft from former workplaces

Wesley Pettegrew — — — —

A man who managed McKenzie Outfitters and Harry and David's Country Store is charged with stealing cash and merchandise from the two businesses.

Wesley Charles Pettegrew, 32, of the 100 block of Sierra Drive, Eagle Point, faces a dozen counts of first-degree theft in addition to charges of aggravated first-degree theft and negotiating bad checks. A Jackson County grand jury indicted Pettegrew Tuesday.

Pettegrew is no longer employed with either company. Owners of McKenzie Outfitters in Eugene declined to comment. Public relations representatives for Bear Creek Corp. could not be reached.

Prosecutors allege that Pettegrew stole an estimated &

36;75,000 in merchandise over several years from McKenzie Outfitters while employed there as a manager. Investigators said they found hundreds of items stored in a barn at Pettegrew's residence.

Pettegrew allegedly stole clothing, boots, backpacks, camping equipment, fishing tackle, global positioning systems and even canoes from the sporting goods store. The store's tags were still in place on some items, investigators said.

We believe he was systematically removing merchandise, and because of his position, he was able to do it for such a long period of time, said Tim Barnack, deputy district attorney.

Pettegrew allegedly took merchandise out of the store after hours or used items for promotional demonstrations without returning them, investigators said. Detectives said they also believe Pettegrew sold two canoes by placing classified ads in the .

Pettegrew was employed as a manager who handled cash at Harry and David's Country Store shortly after leaving McKenzie Outfitters in fall 2000. About two years later, the company's auditors noticed that approximately &

36;1,000 in cash was missing, Barnack said.

Theft charges previously had been filed against Pettegrew for allegedly collecting more than &

36;7,000 in unemployment benefits while working for Harry and David.

Police Monday arrested Pettegrew, who bailed out of the Jackson County Jail on the same day after posting &

36;6,500. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 17.

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Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail