Woman faces theft charge

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PONDERAY — A former Yoke’s Foods employee was arrested earlier this month for stealing more than $3,000 in merchandise and fraudulently redeeming coupons over a seven-month period.

Barbara Lea Rosteck, 56, is charged with grand theft. She made an initial appearance in Bonner County Magistrate Court on July 15 and a public defender was appointed to represent her, according to court documents.

Rosteck is also charged with possessing a controlled substance without a prescription, a misdemeanor.

A preliminary hearing on the felony theft charge is set for July 31. Pretrial proceedings on the misdemeanor drug charge are set for August.

Rosteck is free on $1,000 bond while her cases are pending, court records show. Aside from a speeding ticket in 2007, Rosteck has no prior criminal record in Idaho, according to the state supreme court data repository.

Yoke’s officials initiated an investigation into the loss of merchandise at the store earlier this summer. Video and store records implicated Rosteck as the suspect in the thefts, a Ponderay Police report said.

After three documented incidents of theft, Rosteck was confronted by Jagrut Shah, a investigator for Phoenix Protective Corp. in Spokane, Wash.

Rosteck allegedly admitted to Shah and Ponderay Police Cpl. Tim Fry that she committed theft, court records indicate.

Rosteck, the records said, was initially reluctant to accept responsibility for the thefts, but ultimately admitted to committing them due the loss of her husband’s job in the fall of 2012 and the resulting loss of income.

The thefts occurred from the winter of 2012 until her firing earlier this month, charging papers state.

The stolen items included cigarettes, batteries, toiletries, reading materials and miscellaneous food items, the arrest report said. The amount of merchandise and bogus coupon returns totaled $3,369, well above the $1,000 threshold that elevates a theft charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.

A tablet of diazepam, perhaps best known as Valium, was discovered in her pocket upon her arrest, the police report said.

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