Crime

Fircrest teller charged with stealing $42,000 from ailing customer ‘messed up so bad’

Shelley Lehman is brought into Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma on Friday afternoon. The credit union teller is accused of stealing $42,000 from an Alzheimer’s patient’s account.
Shelley Lehman is brought into Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma on Friday afternoon. The credit union teller is accused of stealing $42,000 from an Alzheimer’s patient’s account. KIRO-TV

The withdrawals were made from a drive-through window at a Fircrest credit union, but surveillance video showed there was no vehicle at the window when the money was taken.

Pierce County prosecutors said that’s because a teller at the Tapco Credit Union branch at 6312 19th St. W. used her code to withdraw more than $42,000 from the account of a customer suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

After seven months of withdrawals from the account, the victim’s son noticed the missing money in July and asked the credit union to investigate.

“The TAPCO branch manager reviewed video surveillance at the drive-through window at the time of the transactions and discovered that there was not a vehicle at the window during the time of the transaction on most occasions,” records show.

“This meant that there was no customer to receive the cash from the withdrawal.”

During the investigation, teller Shelley Lehman called in sick and sent an email, apologizing and saying she “messed up so bad,” according to charging papers.

Records show the victim’s address was changed to a University Place address next door to Lehman.

Lehman, 43, was arrested Thursday.

She told police she’d been in two car accidents and became so addicted to the pain killers she initially was prescribed that she began buying them illegally, according to charging papers.

On Friday, Lehman pleaded not guilty to first-degree theft and first-degree identity theft. She was released on her own recognizance.

Prosecutors said more charges might be added.

  Comments