Lander woman alleged to have taken over $11k from local business

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

(Lander, WY) – 48-year-old Michelle Appelhans faces a theft-taking-aggregate felony charge, for alleged incidents occurring from October of 2020 to June of 2021.

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It is reported that Appelhans, a local liquor store employee, “voided or removed merchandise from the cash register for the purpose of concealing the customers cash payment for her personal use.”

Court documents indicate there were 887 instances of theft, totalling $11,532.47.

Appelhans waived her preliminary hearing, and the case now moves on to District Court, with an arraignment date set for October 13th.

On June 16th, the Lander Police Department (LPD) was informed of an alleged theft occurring at a Lander business after management was notified that Appelhans had voided a customer’s transaction and placed the cash under the till.

Upon reviewing the footage of the transaction, management noticed that “the charges were voided, but rang up as one cent ($.01) each,” which reportedly allows the register to be opened.

However, once the items are scanned they are still recognized by the computer system, which allowed the manager to see the total value of the items that were voided.

An audit of all the one cent ($.01) transactions was then reportedly conducted, as well as a review of the specific teller’s shifts.

It was noticed that there were a “large amount of voided transactions related to Appelhans.”

Upon further review of the surveillance video, it was reported that at the end of Appelhans shift the money was removed and placed on top of the till, which was “normal practice, as a teller keeps larger bills under the till until their shift is over.”

Appelhans was then reportedly seen carrying the register out of the liquor store toward the store safe, with court documents indicating that “As the teller enters the grocery section, the cash is no longer on top of the drawer, and the money is seen being placed into the teller’s pocket.”

A month-by-month summary was then provided to LPD, which showed how much cash was taken and how many customer transactions that Appelhans had reportedly voided or removed.

The dates and reported amounts taken from the summary are as follows:

  • October, 2020: $65.75
  • November, 2020: $225.95
  • December, 2020: $877.00
  • January, 2021: $1,281.30
  • February, 2021: $1,265.68
  • March, 2021: $2,292.1
  • April, 2021: $2,035.88
  • May, 2021: $2,433.80
  • June, 2021: $1,054.96

In total, there were reportedly 887 instances of theft, in the combined amount of $11,532.47.

An LPD Detective later conducted an interview with Appelhans, where she reportedly stated that “she took cash from the register “quite a bit,”” and had started doing so from October of 2020 until her employment had been terminated.

Appelhans also went on to state that she “did not know how much cash she had taken, but recognized it was a large amount.”

Appelhans’ arraignment date has been set for October 13th.

The maximum penalty for a theft-taking-aggregate felony charge is a $10,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment.

County 10 will provide more updates on the case as it progresses, which can be found here.

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