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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ex-worker enters plea of innocent to pot shop theft charge

By Kerri Sandaine Lewiston Tribune

ASOTIN – A former employee at retail marijuana shop Canna4Life is accused of embezzling approximately $180,000 from the downtown Clarkston business over seven months.

Sarah L. Best, 38, pleaded innocent Monday to a first-degree theft charge in Asotin County Superior Court. Her trial date will be set at her next court appearance on Monday.

According to court documents, Best was allegedly changing numbers on deposit forms and the store’s computer records and pocketing the difference.

The discrepancies came to light when the owner of the retail store hired an accountant to review the finances last month. Records show a large amount of cash paid to Canna4Life from June 2018 until Jan. 25 had not been deposited in the bank.

Best denied stealing from the store when she was interviewed at the Clarkston Police Department. She was arrested Feb. 1 on the theft charge and was later released from the Asotin County Jail on a $25,000 unsecured appearance bond.

During the investigation Michael “Scott” Atkison, a co-owner of the store, provided documents to police that show a shortage of $6,479 over a five-day period in January. In the probable cause affidavit, Clarkston Officer Chris Lorz said the information is consistent with what allegedly occurred over a seven-month time frame, for a total amount stolen in excess of $180,000.

Best was not able to provide an explanation as to why the numbers had been altered on her spreadsheets to show less money was received, according to court documents. She reportedly admitted she would have been the only one who would have an opportunity to change the values.

The former employee was hired at the store in June of 2017. A class B felony carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.