- A Rhinelander woman stole nearly $30,000 from the car dealership that she worked at, according to a criminal complaint.
Police arrested Anna Petersen this week and prosecutors charged her with a felony of theft in a business setting. She made her initial appearance in Oneida County Court Tuesday afternoon.
Her bosses at Rhinelander GM told detectives Petersen, 41, authorized at least five checks to be cashed as "petty cash" over the last two months. The checks totaled to $28,796.86.
The criminal complaint shows Petersen had a courtesy driver at the dealership cash the checks which she endorsed at a bank, then deliver the money back to her, mainly in $100 bills.
A Rhinelander detective went to Petersen's house on Monday, then brought her to the police department to question her. Petersen first denied taking the money, then claimed she had been saving bartending tip money in her sock drawer over 10 years.
Petersen then admitted to taking the money from Rhinelander GM. She said she used it to pay bills, fix her roof, and help her daughter pay for college. Petersen said her daughter attends private college at Concordia University near Milwaukee and the cost is "exorbitant."
Petersen also told police the money did not go to gambling or drugs, but that a divorce left her with a large amount of debt.
With Petersen appearing via video in court on Tuesday, District Attorney Michael Schiek asked for a cash bond.
"We do have a very significant amount of money that was allegedly taken, so at least for purposes of today I would ask the court to set a cash bond and also, if she does post that she not have any contact with Rhinelander GM," Schiek said.
Rhinelander GM's general manager thinks there might be more money Petersen stole. The dealership plans to conduct an audit to find out.
Petersen could face more charges if an audit shows she took more money.
Judge Michael Bloom released Petersen on a $10,000 signature bond during Tuesday afternoon's hearing. She faces up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines if convicted.