MANATEE -- Three employees with Goodwill Manasota have been charged with breaking into a storage unit belonging to another employee while he was walking the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness about a Goodwill program to aid military veterans, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Their goal, according to sheriff's office, was to ruin Christopher Davis' reputation and to get him fired from Goodwill.
Davis, who had romantic relationships with two women charged in the case, last month filed a lawsuit against the three suspects, alleging they engaged in "illegal, malicious and wrongful conduct" to ruin his reputation.
For its part, Goodwill officials said Davis was fired "for conduct detrimental to Goodwill and the people we serve," and that it was not involved in the suspects' actions.
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“I hope the community will realize that Goodwill was not a participant in these activities and had no knowledge of the alleged activities and continue to support our efforts to assist veterans,” said Steve Boone, chairman of the board for Goodwill Manasota.
Surveillance video captured Yen L. Reed, Goodwill's former spokeswoman; Jessica Lynn Baldwin; and Donald E. Hill on May 28 entering Christopher Davis' storage unit at a rental facility at 7750 Lockwood Ridge Road and removing an iPad, documents and other items belonging to Davis, according to a sheriff's office news release.
Reed, who no longer works at Goodwill, was identified as Davis' ex-girlfriend. She had a key to the storage unit, according to the sheriff's office. Baldwin was identified as his then-girlfriend, and Hill also worked with Davis, according to the report.
The sheriff's office said that on June 4, Goodwill officials notified Davis that he had been fired and the agency had stopped funding his hiking trip, because of "inappropriate personal pictures and documents found on his work computer.
"The items were never on the victim's work computer, they were on his personal computer when he left for his hiking trip," the sheriff's report states.
The suspects, the sheriff's office said, "contacted numerous associates in the veterans' community and told them personal information about the victim from the documents that were obtained from the victim's storage unit.
"The intentions of the three suspects were to give the victim a bad reputation and also to get him fired from Goodwill," the sheriff's office said.
When the victim went to Goodwill to retrieve personal items, he found they included the iPad that had been taken from the storage unit.
Reed, 37, turned herself in at the Manatee County jail on Wednesday, and was released after posting a $5,000 bond. She faces a charge of grand theft.
Baldwin, 26, also surrendered at the jail Wednesday. Facing a charge of burglary, she was released after posting $1,500 bond.
Hill, 57, was arrested at his job site in Sarasota, and faces a charge of burglary. He was released from the Sarasota County jail after posting $1,500 bond.
Davis' lawsuit, which was filed July 16, outlines the same allegations mentioned in the sheriff's news release -- only in more detail.
Davis claims Reed, Baldwin and Hill invaded his privacy by going into his storage unit and defamed him by giving others "knowingly false, libelous and slanderous information" about Davis, and interfered with his ability to secure employment.
The lawsuit says that the surveillance footage taken at the storage unit shows that some combination of the three suspects entered the storage unit on May 30 and 31 and June 1 and 4.
The video shows Hill and Baldwin are "in a romantic relationship with another," and captures all three "ransacking, searching and removing personal articles of Mr. Davis's, as well as his private legal papers and other documents," including his iPad, the complaint states.
Davis also alleges in the lawsuit that Reed and Baldwin were "infuriated" because they and Baldwin believed he was romantically involved with the two women at the same time.
In the lawsuit, Davis also denies he had any inappropriate material on his work computer.
Davis is seeking injunctive relief, as well as damages in excess of $15,000.