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'Perfect employee' is a thief, police say

By AMY HERDY

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 12, 2000


TAMPA -- She appears to be the perfect employee: industrious and a quick study.

But detectives say a woman known as Karla Kreitz has selfish reasons for impressing her new bosses. They say she rips them off the first chance she gets.

Even the name Kreitz isthought to be an alias for the 5-foot-8, 275-pound white woman with slightly graying brown hair and blue eyes.

Investigators think she has been hired by -- and then stolen from -- convenience stores in New Tampa, Carrollwood, the University of South Florida area and Land O'Lakes.

"Karla would apply at multiple locations as an experienced clerk," said Hillsborough sheriff's Detective Skip Pask, "and would show how well she could do the job."

In their eagerness to hire her, Pask said, store managers would not check her background.

Once left alone, Pask said, "she would leave with the cash."

At that point, managers would discover that all the information she had given them on her application was false.

So far, investigators have said Kreitz is responsible for thefts at the Citgo at Bearss and Florida avenues, the Mobil gas station at 9907 N Dale Mabry Highway and a Marathon gas station on Cross Creek Boulevard. They are searching for Kreitz.

Similar thefts at other convenience stores have been committed by a womanfitting the same description and using the same method, Pask said. In each case, the woman matches a description for Kreitz and drives a light blue 1997 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck.

Sometimes, after being hired at more than one store, Kreitz would stagger her schedule to begin at each store on a different day, Pask said.

"All of a sudden the angel from heaven comes, and the manager can finally take a break," he said, only to return to find the new hire -- and the money -- gone.

"The management of all these small businesses needs workers so badly they are not checking backgrounds," Pask said.

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