The bartender claimed he was robbed and taken hostage after shutting down a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Puyallup.
Police, however, said Andrew Maguire’s story didn’t add up.
The VFW manager arrived at work March 1 and found the front door unlocked, the safe wide open and money bags littering the floor. The security system had been disabled.
He called 29-year-old Maguire, the last person to have access to the safe during his shift Feb. 28. Maguire allegedly told his boss he’d been robbed and taken hostage. He offered up more than $5,600 in stolen money and an account about being threatened and forced to drive to Eastern Washington.
His story went like this:
Maguire closed the post at 120 Second St. NE and went across the street for a few drinks. When he left the bar, a man forced him to open the VFW and grab all the cash. The man then told Maguire to meet him at a remote location. Maguire complied, taking the stolen money with him.
The man then told Maguire to go home and change his clothes, because they had a long drive ahead of them. Again, Maguire said he did as he was told.
The two met along Interstate 90 between Cle Elum and Ellensburg and drove winding back roads until the man signaled for Maguire to stop. They both got out of their vehicles. The man asked for the money. Maguire threw it on the ground.
When the man bent to pick it up, Maguire told detectives, he punched and kicked the man. He said he was able to snatch back the stolen money and escape.
“When asked about the entire situation the defendant admitted that he had a working cellphone with him throughout the entire incident and he did not attempt to call or text for help at any point,” according to charging papers.
Police did not believe a mystery man forced Maguire to steal the money. In fact, they watched surveillance footage showing Maguire re-enter the VFW bar.
“Law enforcement described the defendant as appearing relaxed and even is drinking a beer at one point,” court records state.
“The video also showed the defendant accessing money from the till, throwing pencils/pens, banging his fist on the counter, putting money into a money bag, speaking to an unknown person not shown in the footage, collecting money bags, turning off the lights and then the camera.”
Pierce County prosecutors have charged Maguire with first-degree theft. He is set to be arraigned June 16.Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653 email@example.com