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Euclid, Minn., woman accused of stealing thousands from employer

A Euclid, Minn., woman is charged with stealing more than $66,000 from her East Grand Forks employer.

Shelley Lynn Rowley, 46, who was a bookkeeper at Storage Max from 2008 to 2011, appeared Wednesday in Polk County District Court on a charge of theft by swindle.

On Nov. 23, Howard Haug, owner of the Storage Max at 632 Gateway Dr. E., reported to East Grand Forks police that he had an audit conducted on his business and suspected Rowley had been stealing money.

A criminal complaint said the audit showed that during 2008 and 2009, Rowley, who was in charge of payroll, paid herself $27,578.10 more than her entitled salary.

She also was in charge of paying credit card billings from 2009 to 2011, during which time she allegedly made $7,114.73 in personal charges.

In 2010 and 2011, Rowley also was in charge of depositing cash receipts in the business' bank. The audit showed that during those years, there were $31,274.47 in receipts that had no record of deposit at the bank.

The complaint said on Nov. 23, Lt. Rod Hajicek of the East Grand Forks police interviewed Rowley, who admitted to using the credit card for personal use but denied taking any cash.

In a subsequent interview, she told Hajicek that she had been paid extra for answering the phone for Storage Max's Canadian branch. At that time, she couldn't explain the missing cash receipts.

Haug told police that she did get extra pay for answering the phone, but it didn't explain the differences in the audit.

The complaint said Haug also had a conversation with Rowley's boyfriend, Milt Pazdernik, who told Haug he had tried to refinance his home to get money to pay back the stolen money, but wasn't able to.

The charge of theft by swindle of more than $35,000 is punishable by as many as 20 years in prison and a $100,000.