Crime

Woman suspected in South Hill rental scheme arrested in Arizona

A woman charged in a Pierce County rental-house scheme has been arrested in Arizona on suspicion of altering customer receipts to increase her tips at the restaurant where she worked as a waitress.

Local detectives have been looking for Manda Lynn Anderson since November 2014 when they learned she’d disappeared with more than $12,000 allegedly stolen from prospective renters.

A warrant was issued earlier this month.

On Tuesday, police in Marana, Arizona, said they’d arrested Anderson on suspicion of 20 felony counts of fraud and one felony count of computer tampering.

They say Anderson allegedly increased her tip amounts on credit receipts on more than 100 customers’ bills while working as a waitress in the Marana area. The total take: $1,400.

It was not immediately clear when Anderson, 38, would return to Pierce County to be arraigned on the seven counts of second-degree theft she faces here.

In November 2014, Anderson placed an ad on Craigslist for a three-bedroom house on 139th Avenue Court East in South Hill.

Seven families filled out rental applications and gave a down payment to Anderson. She then either canceled the agreement via text message or never contacted the families again but kept the money, according to charging papers.

When all the victims showed up at the home Dec. 1 to move in, they realized they’d been duped.

The victims included a couple who requested proof of ownership from Anderson and drove to Gig Harbor to help her after Anderson claimed to be having car troubles. The couple was directed to an empty lot.

One woman who gave Anderson $2,000 had recently lost her husband and left a nursing home to move into the house. Anderson allegedly sent Anita Chichester’s grandson a text canceling the arrangement.

“The emotional situation was unbearable for everyone involved in the move and cannot be put into words,” Chichester wrote in a victim impact statement.

Anderson did own the house she placed for rent, but it is now in foreclosure, documents show.

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