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Former car dealership employee charged with embezzlement

By Shavonne Potts

shavonne.potts@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — A former Cloninger Toyota repair service employee was charged this week after he was accused of stealing over $16,000 from customers getting vehicle repairs.

He faces multiple felony charges, said Rowan Sheriff’s Capt. John Sifford.

Michael Benjamin Gobble, 42, of the 500 block of Cedar Circle, Rockwell, was charged Monday with five counts of felony obtaining property by false pretenses and 34 counts of felony larceny by employee.

The dealership, located at 511 S. Jake Alexander Blvd., contacted the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office after an internal audit uncovered discrepancies.

A service manager told a detective that Gobble was a service adviser who had been recently laid off because of COVID-19. The company had an audit on repair orders and service tickets. The manager said they located inconsistencies on orders written by Gobble.

Sifford said the manager determined Gobble accepted cash payments from customers and, in some instances, Gobble would keep the money and give the customer a fictitious receipt.

Gobble would not close the repair order so it would appear the transaction had not been completed. The service manager spoke to Gobble, who according to the manager, confessed to taking the money, Sifford said.

Sifford said investigators determined there were 39 transactions that totaled $16,136.94. The transactions took place between Jan. 13 and April 10.

Gobble was issued a $5,000 secured bond and has since been released from the Rowan County Detention Center.

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