Investigators Catch Perpetrator of $155,000 Internal Theft at Indiana Restaurant

ANGOLA, Ind. -- A Potawatomi Inn cashier accused of stealing more than $155,000 during a 2˝ year period pleaded guilty to theft charges.

Rebecca Tschannen, 35, made the plea to the felony charge Monday in Steuben Circuit Court. She remains free on bail awaiting her sentencing Nov. 21.

A plea agreement with prosecutors called for Tschannen to serve one year under house arrest and seven years on probation.

She also must repay $155,893.70 which investigators said she pocketed by altering meal tickets as a cashier at the inn on the grounds of Pokagon State Park, about 40 miles north of Fort Wayne.

Investigators said Tschannen altered food tickets to reflect a price significantly lower than the customer actually paid.

She was accused of altering between $300 and $1,200 in food tickets nearly every shift during her time as a cashier at the restaurant. She often changed numerous full-buffet orders to one bowl of fruit or cereal and altered the number of customers on the check from several to one or two people, the affidavit said.

At the end of the day, the affidavit said, Tschannen stole the cash difference from the register.

The state Department of Natural Resources, which oversees Indiana's 22 state parks, began investigating Tschannen in November 2003, when inn managers made complaints. Although she worked for the inn, Tschannen was not a state employee.

(c) 2005 Associated Press