Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Meijer asking for restitution from ex-workers accused of stealing nearly $100K in merchandise

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – Meijer is asking for restitution from three former employees prosecutors say stole nearly $100,000 worth of merchandise from the retailer.

Lindsey Smallwood, 27, appeared in court Thursday for a status hearing and the case was continued. Assistant State’s Attorney Amy Ohtani told Judge Brendan Maher that she is in the process of examining what was allegedly stolen from Meijer in order to determine a final amount of restitution.

Smallwood is charged with one count of retail theft of more than $300, a Class 3 felony.  She’s being prosecuted along with Helena Washington, 62, and 30-year-old Vanessa Horvath. Washington also faces one count of retail theft of more than $300 while Horvath, who admitted being the “ring leader” of the scheme, is charged with retail theft of greater than $10,000 but less than $100,000 and retail theft of more than $300.

Retail theft of greater than $10,000 but less than $100,000 is a Class 2 felony.

According to a police report, Horvath told investigators that between May and October of last year, she stole more than $94,293.55 worth of items from the McFarland Road store. Police say Smallwood admitted to stealing goods valued at $1,522.62 while Washington’s take equaled $1,345.58. Smallwood called her participation “dumb,” and said she gave most of the stolen items as Christmas gifts.

Horvath is scheduled to appear in court again July 3. Washington’s next hearing is June 20.

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