Cops: Ex-manager hatched Sonic burglaries

A man who was fired from his manager’s job in January at a local Sonic Drive-in restaurant is accused of plotting two burglaries over 17 days at separate Sonic locations.

Thomas G. Walsh, 24, of Clifton, was arrested Feb. 9 on suspicion of second-degree burglary, theft, criminal mischief and conspiracy in the theft of several thousand dollars Feb. 3 from Clifton’s Sonic, 3203 U.S. Highway 6&24.

According to arrest affidavits, Walsh confessed to burglaries at the Clifton store and another Sonic at Rim Rock shopping center, 2523 U.S. Highway 6&50, which happened Jan. 17. About a week before the Rim Rock break-in, Walsh had been fired as manager there after nearly $1,000 in cash was missing from a safe during his shifts, the affidavits said.

When confronted by his former boss, Walsh allegedly said, “You don’t have any cameras; you can’t prove anything.”

Some $200 was missing from a safe at the store, while damage was estimated at more than $1,000. A fire extinguisher had been emptied inside the business, which Walsh later explained was an attempt to destroy evidence left behind.

Travis I. Hladik, 29, homeless, was arrested Friday as a suspected conspirator. Walsh told investigators they used Hladik’s vehicle during the burglary.

Staff at the Clifton Sonic store arrived to work Feb. 4 and found a glass door shattered and $2,700 missing from a safe, which had its hinges cut off. Fifteen cables from a video surveillance system had been disconnected from a computer, the affidavit said, but the computer’s hard drive captured video images of the burglar inside the store.

A woman who worked at the store said she recognized Walsh in the video as the burglar. She also told investigators Walsh had a hand installing the surveillance system at the Clifton store, which was before he lost his job at the Rim Rock store.

During a search of Walsh’s home Feb. 9, officers said they found interior layout drawings detailing both stores.


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