Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 10:11 am
Two envelopes filled with cash. A hidden camera. The office of a high-profile politician.
Sounds like a John Grisham novel.
The end result? Maybe not so dramatic.
As NPR's Tamara Keith tells us:
A now-former staffer for Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has been arrested for allegedly stealing cash from the desk drawer of a co-worker.
According to a court affidavit, 37-year-old Javier Sanchez was caught on video taking an envelope marked "petty cash" from the desk drawer of Bachmann's chief of staff. It was one of two envelopes — "petty cash" with $80 inside and another marked "birthday money" that had $120 — that Capitol Police had placed in the office.
The sting operation was launched April 4 in response to reports of thefts from the congresswoman's office earlier this year. By the end of June, both were envelopes were gone. After being shown a still photo from the surveillance video — in which he's allegedly seen taking the "petty cash" — Sanchez was arrested last week. He's now free on his own recognizance pending a hearing. The complaint only accuses him of taking the "petty cash." The fate of the "birthday money" isn't spelled out.
According to the court complaint, in an interview with investigators Sanchez said he had maybe taken a quarter once in a while, but always paid it back.
His lawyer, David Benowitz, says Sanchez denies taking the cash.
August 27 Update: Community Service For Former Bachmann Aide Accused Of Theft