PLATTSMOUTH – An Elmwood woman will be required to repay more than $3,800 to a local convenience store as part of her sentence for stealing lottery tickets.
Linda L. Hanson, 40, appeared in Cass County District Court Monday morning for a sentencing hearing. She pled guilty in September to one Class IV felony charge of theft-shoplifting $1,500 to $5,000.
Hanson had been working at Elmwood Convenience Store in late 2017 and early 2018. Deputy County Attorney Richard Fedde said Hanson stole lottery tickets from the store 194 times. She then took them to both of the Casey’s General Store locations in Eagle to try to validate them.
Employees at both Casey’s stores told investigators Hanson had been bringing an unusually large number of tickets to them. She sometimes visited the stores two or three times per day to validate them.
An Elmwood Convenience Store manager became suspicious about Hanson’s activities and contacted Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Authorities were on site when Hanson was fired Jan. 7. Nebraska Department of Revenue officials also became involved with the investigation because the state was losing revenue from the stolen tickets.
Fedde told the court Monday that the total amount of stolen merchandise was $3,896.54. Lottery tickets comprised the vast majority of that amount. Many of the other items were cigarettes.
Fedde said the state recommended probation for Hanson. He said the main reason for that proposal was to give her an opportunity to pay restitution to Elmwood Convenience Store. He said that was the most important goal for all parties involved.
Defense attorney Julie Bear said she felt Hanson would be a good candidate for probation. She said her client would be able to afford restitution payments of $200 per month. She said Hanson had spent 11 days in jail following her arrest.
Judge Michael Smith ordered Hanson to serve 48 months on probation. She will be required to begin paying at least $200 per month in restitution Jan. 1. She must repay the entire amount of $3,896.54 by the end of her four-year sentence.
Hanson will be required to attend victim empathy, financial management and cognitive behavior programs. She must complete a chemical dependency evaluation within 30 days and follow all of the evaluation’s recommendations. She will also be required to submit to random tests and searches during her probation.