Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Bank employee arrested for theft of $20,000

March 5, 2003

A former Baldwin State Bank employee was arrested on two counts of felony theft Friday.

Gretchen Olson, 29, Baldwin, allegedly stole around $20,000 from Baldwin State Bank over a two-year span during her tenure as a bank employee.

Olson's arrest came following a two-month investigation after the bank reported a second theft of $10,000 to the Baldwin City Police Department.

Baldwin Police Chief Mike McKenna said the BCPD began the investigation Dec. 27 after the bank reported that money was missing Christmas Eve.

McKenna said the bank had also reported a similar loss of $10,000 in March 2001 to the BCPD, which had been turned over to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Baldwin State Bank President Carl Butell said the KBI investigated the first theft extensively, but they were unable to determine who had taken the money.

"We always knew it was gone, but we didn't know where it went," he said.

After the first investigation, Butell said there were no further problems until May 2002 when $2,000 turned up missing at the Baldwin State Bank branch on U.S. Highway 56.

"We contacted the KBI about that, but it was not reinvestigated," he said.

There were no other incidents until Dec. 24, 2002, when another $10,000 was missing.

McKenna said as a result of the recent investigation, the March 2001 theft case was also cleared.

Olson was an employee at the bank from 1997 to 1998 and from May 1999 until just recently.

Butell said the money she allegedly stole wasn't from the bank's customers.

"The money was all vault cash, which belonged to the bank," he said. "It didn't involve customer deposits."

He said the bank has taken measures since the first theft to avoid future problems.

"We had improved our procedures substantially during all of this," he said.

Douglas County District Attorney Chris Kenney said Olson, who was released on bond Friday, will make her first court appearance March 14.

Kenney said Olson is being charged with two counts felony theft of more than $500. If Olson has no criminal history, Kenney said she could face a minimum of five months to a maximum of seven months in prison.

Butell said he appreciated the BCPD efforts and is glad the investigation led to an arrest.

"We feel like this is unfortunate, but we're glad to have it behind us," he said.

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