AUSTIN EDITION -- Rochester woman admits raceway theft

By Amy Olson

A Rochester woman has pleaded guilty to swindling her employer out of $2,500.

Lynn M. Steele, 32, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Mower District Court in Austin to one count of theft by swindle. Under a plea agreement, Steele faces time on electronic home monitoring and has agreed to pay $2,500 in restitution.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $20,000 fine.


She will be sentenced June 14.

Mower District Court Judge Donald Rysavy set Steele's sentencing for June 14.

Steele was charged with two counts of theft by swindle and two counts of diversion of corporate property. According to the criminal complaint, Steele worked at SMS promotions, which owns Deer Creek Speedway near Racine, for about seven years.

Owners Michael and Cynthia Schubert of Racine Township said they noticed ticket sales seemed low compared with the size of the crowds. Michael Schubert installed a surveillance camera for the ticket booth.

In reviewing a tape from June 9, 2001, Michael Schubert told authorities he saw Steele take money, and it appeared she placed it in her purse. It also appeared she was selling fake tickets. The estimated loss was between $640 and $750.

On June 16, 2001, surveillance cameras appeared to show Steele removing substitute tickets from her purse, selling those instead of official tickets and putting cash in her purse. At the end of the evening, she was arrested. Officers found $723 in cash in her purse. She told investigators she sold 29 substitute tickets that night. She also told investigators she stole a total of about $3,000.

Defense attorney Paul Grinde said Steele believes she took only between $2,100 and $2,200. Assistant County Attorney Patrick Flanagan said Steele has agreed to pay $2,500 in restitution.

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