Police: Former employee stole $25,000 document as ransom for back pay

Police: Former employee stole $25,000 document as ransom for back pay

From the Las Vegas Optic

A Las Vegas man has been charged with attempting to hit a man with his vehicle after taking a document from the meat processing company valued near $25,000.

Workers at High Plains Processing south of Las Vegas called police around 11 a.m. on Oct. 12 to say that Gail Houser, 71, who’d quit earlier that morning, was back digging through a filing cabinet and grabbing company documents, according to a criminal complaint filed in San Miguel Magistrate Court.

Employees said Houser grabbed payroll information and a document called a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Plan that the company must have under federal law to operate. The company was forced to close.

A company co-owner told police he couldn’t pay employees for two weeks, and that Houser told employees he planned to keep the document until he received his back pay, according to the complaint.

Employees said after Houser grabbed the document, a man attempted to close a gate to prevent Houser from leaving, but witnesses told police Houser swerved the vehicle he was driving toward the man, nearly hitting him. Witnesses estimated Houser was driving 30 to 40 mph.

Houser was charged with second-degree larceny and fourth-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

New Mexico State Police officers met with Houser Oct. 14. Houser told police he’d given the document to the U.S. Department of Agriculture safety inspector the day before, according to the complaint. Police were able to confirm the document had been returned.

As a result of the investigation, the arrest warrant was canceled and the amended complaint removed the larceny charge.

Houser was issued a summons to appear in court for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on Oct. 28.