BELLINGHAM - A former Macy's employee who stole thousands of dollars in gift cards and merchandise has been sentenced to two months in jail and must testify against her alleged accomplice, her mother.
Victoria Zinkova-Barnhill, 28, stole most of the property - about $14,000 worth - in a scheme in which her mom, Anna Zinkova, would bring in old items and trade them for a receipt saying she'd brought back new items, Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran wrote in charging documents.
Zinkova-Barnhill would then grab new items from the store, scan them as a return, and then scan them as a sale at an inflated price. Her mom would walk out with the new items and the receipt, according to the charges. The new items were taken to another Macy's where they were exchanged for a gift card at the inflated price.
A loss-prevention officer at Macy's found evidence of 45 suspicious exchanges dating back to October 2010. Zinkova-Barnhill had been working at the store for about five years.
In all, she stole $17,000, McEachran said. She has since paid all of that money back. Prosecutors didn't note how she managed to pay the restitution in full.
Zinkova-Barnhill declined to talk about the case when contacted by a reporter. In her plea deal, she admitted to stealing less than $5,000. She's not allowed in Macy's stores.
Anna Zinkova admitted guilt in December 2010 to stealing about $5,000 from the Bellingham-based Pacific International Grout Co. She worked there as a bookkeeper for several years and was charged with stealing more than $100,000.
In a complex and contentious civil court case, her lawyer argued the charges were brought as revenge when a romantic relationship with her boss went sour. In the criminal case, she eventually agreed to pay $50,000 restitution in a plea deal in which she admitted to a single count of theft.
No charges have been filed against Anna Zinkova in the Macy's scheme. McEachran said prosecutors are still investigating how she was involved.