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Columbia police arrest man accused of stealing money from cleaning service

UPDATE 4:30 pm: Lavalais was charged with stealing and forgery.

According to the probable cause statement, Lavalais is accused of putting an extra 409 hours down on his timesheets.

Lavalais is accused of stealing $8,495.20.

Police said the total amount stolen by both Joseph and the other suspect was $11,085.34.

ORIGINAL STORY: Columbia police arrested Joseph Lavalais on Friday night after officers were dispatched to Express Employment Professionals in reference to a past fraud.

Police said the investigation revealed Lavalais and another suspect stole money from Express and Atkinz Cleaning Services by adding time to their time sheets that they did not work.

There were also several supervisor signatures on the time sheets that had been forged, officers said.

On Friday night, officers were traveling south on Banks from Sexton when they saw a car with a truck license plate and a defective brake light.

Police said when they initiated a traffic stop, Lavalais got out of the car. Officers gave commands for him to get back in the vehicle but Lavalais refused to comply.

Eventually, Lavalais laid down on the ground after being told to do so, police said.

Officers said they found a gun and a marijuana pipe on Lavalais.

Lavalais faces possible charges of forgery, stealing and unlawful distribute/sale drug paraphernalia.

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