Former Wawa Shift Manager Muriel Gibson pled guilty to misdemeanor embezzlement Thursday and received a 90-day sentence, all of which was suspended. She also received 50 hours of community service.
Gibson, 63, was arrested Feb. 6 at the Wawa store on Richmond road and charged with grand larceny, a felony. The charge was reduced to a misdemeanor Thursday because Gibson did not have a criminal record. A felony embezzlement charge carries a sentence of between one and 20 years in prison.
Gibson’s case was prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Michael Gaten ’01 J.D. ’04, who alleged that the defendant had stolen $320 since the beginning of December 2014.
According to the criminal complaint, Gibson stole the money in $10 increments in order to pay her bills.
“She took $10 from the register, and when confronted she admitted to it,” Gaten said at trial.
According to court documents, Wawa Loss Prevention Officer Anthony Becica discovered the embezzlement. Becica did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“I am embarrassed to say that this happened, but it did, and I am sorry,” Gibson said Thursday.
According to Gibson, her husband, who was present at trial, was unable to work because of a back injury.
“In the winter time, the college kids go back home, and our hours go down to fifteen or twenty hours a week,” she said. “I had an electric bill. They were going to shut my lights off. I did it to keep my lights on.”
Gibson, who paid her $320 restitution Thursday, said that she regretted her decision. She said that she has not been able to find work since she was charged, but is still looking. She has volunteered for 40 hours at a charity in Gloucester.
“I’m looking for something where I won’t be at a register, stocking or cleaning,” she said.
Gibson’s attorney Michael Hyman J.D. ’99 said that Gibson eloquently expressed her remorse and embarrassment about the situation.
“I am sure that she would want to apologize to everyone that she let down, including WaWa as well as the students that support WaWa,” Hyman said in an email.
Rafael Snell-Feikema ’18, a spokesman from the William and Mary workers solidarity group, which had its first interest meeting yesterday, said that the group is looking into raising money for Gibson to pay for her court fees.
“I feel that this is symptomatic of the larger pressures faced by workers who fundamentally are not paid enough to survive,” he said.