Oakland concessionaire held in $773,000 theft

July 29, 1991|By Mary Anne Ostrom and Frances Dinkelspiel | Mary Anne Ostrom and Frances Dinkelspiel,Knight-Ridder News Service

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Following a bizarre trail that led them to a Phoenix call girl and a Texas bar, authorities Saturday arrested an Oakland Coliseum concessions manager accused of stealing more than $700,000 in receipts from refreshment sales at last weekend's baseball games.

Thomas Edward Hagins, 29, of Berkeley, Calif., was arrested by FBI agents at a hotel near Dallas about 10 hours after authorities confiscated four boxes at the Dallas Greyhound station. The boxes were believed to contain most of the missing money, estimated at $773,000.

Without a quick-thinking Greyhound manager, authorities said they might still be looking for the record receipts from last weekend's series between the Oakland A's and the New York Yankees.

Police combing Greyhound records in Oakland about 2 p.m. Friday found a suspicious shipment receipt. They immediately called a Greyhound baggage supervisor in Dallas and told her not to hand over the boxes to anyone.

Three minutes later, the supervisor called police back to say a man was there to pick up the boxes. Making up a story on the spot, she told the man that the California bus hadn't arrived and jotted down the number of the cab he sped away in.

The FBI traced the man to a Holiday Inn near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport and arrested Mr. Hagins there without incident at 3 a.m. Saturday.

Oakland police Sgt. William Gillespie said telephone bills found in Mr. Hagins' apartment indicated he knew prostitutes in Phoenix. One Phoenix call girl whose pager phone number appeared on Mr. Hagins' phone bill told police Wednesday that he came to Phoenix late Monday with "a tote bag full of money" and gave her $1,000 in $20 bills.

Investigators began examining United Parcel Service and Greyhound shipments from Oakland on the assumption that he couldn't have taken all of the cash with him on the Phoenix flight. On Friday, Oakland Greyhound manager Bill Wright turned up one receipt worth investigating -- it contained a code number that enabled the person receiving the shipment to pick it up without showing identification.

Mr. Hagins was being held without bail Saturday at the Dallas County Jail on a federal warrant for his arrest for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He is scheduled to be arraigned today, at which time the FBI hopes to get a warrant to open the boxes. Mr. Hagins then will likely be extradited to California, where a warrant for his arrest on felony burglary and grand theft has been issued, police said.

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