Theft suspect returns most of stolen money

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MOSES LAKE — After an alleged thief’s decision to steal money out of a woman’s purse two days before Christmas was made public by Moses Lake police last week, the suspect returned a large amount of the stolen money and apologized.

On Dec. 23 a woman reportedly lost her purse at a Moses Lake grocery store and upon returning to the business discovered a large amount of money was missing from the purse. The woman had set cash aside for food and Christmas presents for her four children.

MLPD officers Omar Ramirez and Jack Dodson investigated the theft and identified the suspect as Viktor Kunayev, 35, who was an employee at the grocery store and promptly fired after the theft was discovered.

“While that was a good piece of police work, and a great case to submit to the prosecutor, these two officers weren’t done yet,” stated the MLPD. “Both officers are dads, and couldn’t bear the thought of a ruined Christmas for four kids, so they went to work.”

Ramirez and Dodson secured unused money from the Shop With a Cop program and purchased a bicycle and other presents for the theft victim’s family. In addition, Ramirez and Dodson acquired three more bikes that were donated to the MLPD by the Local 598 Plumbers and Steamfitters Union. The officers also contacted the Moses Lake Food Bank, which delivered a few weeks’ worth of food to the family.

The MLPD notified the public on Facebook about the theft on Friday and named Kunayev, whom the MLPD dubbed the “Grinch,” as the thief in the incident.

“Apparently, Mr. Kunayev follows our page, and did some research on the Grinch, finding out that at the end of the movie, the Grinch repents and tries to right his wrongs. Sunday night, Kunayev contacted the police department and said he wished to return the money he had taken” stated the MLPD on Tuesday.

Kunayev, who will be facing theft charges, reportedly returned a large amount of the stolen cash and expressed remorse for his actions.

“He requested that his apology be made public, which we believe is only fair. We would like to thank Mr. Kunayev for taking responsibility for his actions, and taking steps to make it right. While we would prefer people not steal in the first place, a sincere effort to rectify past mistakes is always appreciated.”

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