Plea deal made in business theft

A former employee of VJ’s Bargain Barn in Rochester pleaded guilty to eight counts of theft Monday in connection with an investigation that alleged he stole more than $200,000 from his former employer.

Larry David Ledl, 45, pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree theft and three counts of second-degree theft during a hearing Monday in Thurston County Superior Court. Ledl was charged with 22 counts of theft in early October after an accountant hired by VJ’s discovered evidence of theft.

VJ’s Bargain Barn sells mobile home parts.

As part of his plea deal, a prosecutor will recommend that Ledl spend two years in prison. In return for the prosecutor’s recommendation, Ledl will not challenge the forfeiture of property the Thurston County’s Sheriff’s Office seized from Ledl’s home in the 16000 block of Weaver Lane in October after detectives served a search warrant there.

Items found during the search of Ledl’s home include a new Ford F-350 pickup, two motorcycles, a quad ATV and a flat-bed trailer. “He’s been buying a lot of toys the last few years,” Thurston County Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said after sheriff’s deputies completed a search at Ledl’s residence.

The owner of VJ’s Bargain Barn, Brian DeLay, wrote in a victim’s impact statement to the court that Ledl had worked as the manager of his business for more than 10 years, and “over the years we grew to trust and depend on him.”

DeLay also wrote that during the three years Ledl was stealing from him, “my wife and I spent many sleepless nights worrying about the financial stability of the store, thinking that business had just been impacted by the economy.”

“There are no words to describe the absolute betrayal we felt when we discovered the theft,” DeLay added in his statement. DeLay wrote that he would also give up his paychecks during weeks when money was especially tight to cover bills and make sure employees got paid. DeLay wrote that he also had to lay off employees as his profit margins shrank.

Ledl’s sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 28 in Thurston County Superior Court.