Shopko employee accused of stealing deposits to cover payday loan debt

Jocelyn Saunders (Photo: Brown County Jail)

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Shopko store manager is accused of stealing more than $7,000 from the Express location in Suamico.

Jocelyn Ann Saunders, 40, is charged with Theft by Employee in Brown County. The charge is a felony.

On March 11, a Brown County deputy was called to the Shopko Express store at 2585 Lineville Road.

A loss prevention investigator informed the deputy that store manager Jocelyn Saunders had stolen $7,022.55 from the store.

Saunders told investigators that she had "some trouble with payday loans and the interest was very high," according to the criminal complaint.

The thefts started in October of 2018.

Saunders described opening deposits from the current week when she needed money to pay back her loans. She would then put money into the previous week's deposit. That put her a week behind on deposits.

"Around Christmas time, there was way more money for the deposits for the previous week," reads Saunders statement to officials. "I should have done extra deposits, but I took the money instead."

The alleged theft unfolded when Shopko Loss Prevention was informed by an accountant that deposits were missing from Jan. 28 to Feb. 10. The total missing was about $5,600.

Loss prevention spoke with Saunders, who said the deposits were going to be picked up by the next armored truck. She also told them that sometimes she would take deposits to the bank herself. However, the bank had no record of that happening.

Loss prevention looked at surveillance video from the cash office, which showed Saunders taking daily deposits that were already prepared and verified and opening them with scissors or a razor blade. She would take the money from the sealed bags and then conceal it in a register bag. She would leave the office with the money.

"My intentions were to pay back the money," Saunders said.

Saunders appeared in court March 12. The judge ordered a $2500 signature bond. A preliminary hearing is set for May 1.

Shopko, which filed for bankruptcy, intends to close all of its stores by June.