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Police: Gustine woman embezzles 200K in parts, sales on Internet

A Gustine woman has been arrested on suspicion of stealing $200,000 worth of parts from one of the biggest employers in Los Banos and selling them on the Internet.

According to the Los Banos Police Department, Tabitha Dawn Guthrie, 34, a parts clerk for Kagome Inc., is alleged to have stolen more than 250 industrial parts from her employer over the course of a year and a half.

Police launched an investigation into the tomato-processing employee’s actions in February.

Guthrie’s home was searched in April and, police said, evidence was found linking her to the embezzlement. Police later continued the investigation by searching through financial records.

Guthrie was arrested at her home on July 11 and is in custody at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 bail.

“The suspect used her position of trust to cover up her embezzlement from the business. Like most criminals, she was eventually caught and will have to answer for her crime,” said Detective Sgt. Ivan Mendez.

Kagome Inc., at 333 Johnson Road, employs 150 people who produce salsas, pasta sauces, ketchup, barbecue and Mexican sauces, among other items. Kagome recently celebrated its 25th year in Los Banos.

CEO Luis de Oliveira said although the company will likely not be able to recoup its losses, the incident will not hinder production.

“We’ve identified the losses,” de Oliveira said. “The financial loss will not affect the operation in a major way.”

De Oliveira said he is disappointed the embezzlement occurred.

“We’ll be fine. It’s very unfortunate it happened. Sometimes you put your trust in the wrong people,” he said.