Employee and former employee arrested in Goodwill theft & fire

Source: Union Township Police Department)
Source: Union Township Police Department)

CLERMONT COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Two arrests have been made in connection to a fire at a Clermont County Goodwill store that police say was intentionally set.

A small fire was reported around 3:30 a.m. Thursday morning at the location on Mt. Moriah Drive in Union Township.

There were no reports of any injuries caused by the fire.

Police suspect the two attempted to break into the safe and after finding their venture unsuccessful decided to set the office on fire. Most of the charitable donations to the store were destroyed either by vandalism or by the sprinkler system which was automatically set off by the smoke.

Police have arrested Thomas Gaffney, 21, in connection with the fire. Police were able to identify Gaffney due to video images obtained from Goodwill.

Gaffney has been an employee of the Goodwill store since October 2010. Police have charged Gaffney with Arson, Breaking and Entering, Vandalism, and Safecracking.

Police have also charged Christopher Fairchild, 21, on the same charges related to the fire at the store. Fairchild was a former employee of the Goodwill store.

Goodwill has seen five other stores in the Greater Cincinnati Area broken into in the last year and a half. The other ones are in Loveland, Harrison, Independence and Florence.

Goodwill depends on donations of clothing, furniture and household items. In turn, it sells the items at a reduced price. The sales manager for the Ohio Valley region, Ann Walters, says the store is ruined and is dependent on people donating items again.

"Hopefully the public will remember us. We're going to need donations. We're not done, we're not out, we just need a little help," said Walters. She also added that anyone can contribute. "We don't want your money, we want the stuff you don't want."

FOX19 News interviewed several people outside the store, which was closed Thursday as it had to clean up broken dishes along with clothes and furniture that were thrown around inside. Jon Schoettmer shops there frequently and said he doesn't understand why anyone would want to do such a thing to a Goodwill store.

"No conscience. Can't they at least find another place to break into? It's just a shame," he said.

Anyone who may have any additional information should contact the Union Township Police Department at 513-752-1230.

Copyright 2012 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.