Former Mower County worker pleads not guilty to theft

Published 10:05 am Friday, November 16, 2012

AUSTIN — A former Mower County employee who a decade ago embezzled tens of thousands of dollars in public funds has pleaded not guilty to a felony theft charge in Mower County District Court.

Cheryl Lynn Barrett, 53, of Austin, a former public health nurse, pleaded not guilty Thursday on a charge that she allowed others to steal items from Apollo Superette while she worked there.

An officer spoke to Barrett at Apollo on March 3 after she was fired. After several months, officers reviewed video surveillance of Barrett allowing others to take cigarettes, gum, chicken, drinks, candy and lottery tickets.

Email newsletter signup

Barrett later admitted to an officer that she allowed others to steal $402 worth of items over a five-day period in February 2012, according to the court complaint. The complaint adds Barrett also admitted to stealing about $3,700 worth of cigarettes over a 27-month period. Barrett had been an employee at Apollo since 2010.

In 2002, Barrett was convicted of felony embezzlement of public funds after she pleaded guilty. While she avoided prison time, she was ordered to pay more than $55,000 in restitution. According to the Minnesota Judicial System’s records, she still owes $22,000.

Her next court appearance is a pretrial on March 15.