Petaluma police on Sunday arrested a Dick's Sporting Goods employee, suspecting him of embezzling almost $11,000 in cash and merchandise, Petaluma police Lt. Tim Lyons said Monday.

Suspicious store security officials began investigating losses and called Petaluma police Sunday.

Officers interviewed Timothy M. Gutierrez, 21, and arrested him on one count of felony embezzlement.

None of the alleged illegalities involved customer identification or credit cards, said Lyons.

Gutierrez began working at the Petaluma store in May. He allegedly developed a plan with friends, allowing them to come into the store and pick merchandise, then bring it to him at the checkout counter.

He'd treat the items as a "return" and give cash or gifts cards and sometimes allowed the friends to take merchandise without paying, Lyons said.

The transactions typically involved at least $300 in items and occurred about 45 times, police were told.

Police believe Gutierez kept about $6,000 in cash and merchandise.

He was booked into Sonoma County Jail and was released after posting a bond for $10,000 bail.

Police are attempting to identify the friends, said Lyons.