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Suspected Thief Caught in the Act

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MIFFLINVILLE -- Police say a hotel worker in Columbia County called to report a robbery - to cover up a burglary! Thing is, investigators had already caught on to the scheme when the suspect was caught in the act on a hidden camera.

The manager of the Comfort Inn in Mifflinville showed Newswatch 16 video from that camera. He says the video shows his former employee, Trevor Morris, stealing a safe from the office over the weekend.

Around noon on Saturday, manager Shakher Patel noticed money was missing. He says he suspected Morris, who he fired last year, and Morris' girlfriend, Andrea Hess, who still worked at the hotel.

South Centre Township Police say Patel took it upon himself to buy a small camera to hide in the office.

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the camera was in place. About an hour later, it captured pictures of Morris making off with the safe from the office. Investigators say Morris soon discovered only rolls of coins inside the safe, so he threw it off a bridge into the Susquehanna River.

Police say the case took another twist Saturday night. They say that around 10:20 p.m., Andrea Hess called police and said a man with a knife had jumped over the counter, taken the money from the register and stolen the safe.

Police responded to the reported robbery but say they soon realized that Hess made up the story in an attempt to cover up the theft of the safe. Officers arrested Morris when he came to the hotel to pick up Hess at the end of her shift. The pair was taken in for questioning. Police say they confessed a couple hours later.

Morris and Hess were locked up in Columbia County on theft and conspiracy charges.