Man accused of stealing mulch from competing business

Lawrence Ray Waltrip (Photo provided by Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – A man is facing charges after police say he was caught in a scheme to steal thousands of dollars worth of mulch from a competing business.

According to Stephanie Williams-Ortery with the James City County Police Department, Lawrence Ray Waltrip III paid a Peninsula Hardwood Mulch employee for the mulch. Investigators said Waltrip paid the employee substantially less than the mulch would have cost if it was purchased from the company.

Waltrip is the owner of Signature Mulch.

Officers were contacted in February by the owner of Peninsula Hardwood Mulch, who had reviewed security video and saw Waltrip enter the property. The owner said Waltrip was caught on camera using the company’s scoop loader to move mulch into his own vehicle. The same thing was captured on video nine times between May 2013 and July 13, according to James City County Police. Peninsula Hardwood Mulch’s owner told investigators he believes it all began in 2008 and that Waltrip stole more than $10,000 worth of mulch.

The employee involved in the scheme confessed to the owner he was paid by Waltrip, and that he allowed the thefts to happen. Investigators were able to document the checks Waltrip paid the employee, who was apparently unaware of the nighttime incidents.

Waltrip is charged with nine counts of grand larceny and nine counts of conspiracy to commit larceny.

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