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CROWN POINT — A 26-year-old man is accused of stealing thousands of dollars in merchandise and cash while employed as a manager at a clothing store in Southlake Mall.

Thomas S. Poston, of Olympia Fields, Illinois, was charged Friday in Lake Criminal Court with seven counts of felony theft and three counts of misdemeanor theft.

Hobart police were contacted in May to investigate theft allegations at the DTLR clothing store in Southlake Mall, court records state. A loss prevention officer told authorities she learned May 16 the store was short $800 on its deposit. She reviewed surveillance footage, which showed Poston, a store manager, allegedly placing money from the store's safe into his backpack during a May 13 shift.

The loss prevention officer said she also learned Poston rang himself up for thousands of dollars in merchandise and then manually changed the price of the items so they cost almost nothing. He also substantially reduced the price of merchandise for three other employees, records state.

One employee, who purchased $694 worth of store merchandise on May 18, told police he paid Poston $300 in cash for the merchandise. He said he believed Poston was using his management discount and customer coupons to reduce the items' prices.

Altogether, the store lost $11,788 in merchandise and cash through Poston's alleged thefts, records state.

Hobart Police Lt. James Gonzales said Monday his department did not pursue charges against the three employees who allegedly benefited from Poston's thefts.

“The employees thought they were just getting the manager's discount, which is against store policy,” Gonzales said. “No state laws were violated that we could prove against them,”

A warrant for Poston remained active Monday, records state. His surety bond is $50,000.

A manager for the clothing store said Monday Poston and the three employees were all terminated.

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