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Woman accused of stealing from rehab center

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

WABASH — A Wabash woman is facing theft charges after she allegedly stole more than $8,000 from a Wabash rehabilitation center.

Shannon Gidley, 40, was fired from Vernon Manor Health and Rehabilitation Center, located at 1955 Vernon St., Wabash, in January after her employer discovered money missing from petty cash. According to a probable cause affidavit, Gidley handled all of the facility’s finances and transactions, including groceries and supplies occasionally purchased with a Walmart credit card. Representatives from Vernon Manor said she started work in 2017 and was dismissed in January after $250 turned up missing from the petty cash fund in the safe, which only Gidley and the director had access to.

Gidley said she paid back $100 of the missing cash and the company reported the incident but decided to not press charges. A month later, an employee tried to purchase items at Walmart using the credit card, but it was denied because the card was maxed out.

A receipt of all transactions on the credit card showed purchases made with a second company-issued card at Walmart in Marion, Kokomo and as far as Oklahoma.

According to the affidavit, police said Gidley used the card to purchase children’s toys and home items, like bath towels, from Walmart stores outside of Wabash. She allegedly charged $872 to the card at the Kokomo Walmart and $1,784 at the Walmart in Marion. She told police that she purchased several $100 prepaid visas on Dec. 24, and placed charges on the card again when visiting family in Oklahoma.

During the investigation, Vernon Manor also found that Gidley had approved $1,403 under resident accounts, money that residents said they never received.

According to police, Gidley said she started using the card for personal use in 2018 when she ran into financial trouble. She said she knew she would be terminated in early January, and so she used the card again to buy items for her home. In a police interview, she admitted to the unauthorized charges to the credit card but denied stealing money intended for residents, according to the affidavit.

Investigators concluded that the $6,002 in transactions approved by Gidley since October 2017 in addition to the missing petty cash and unauthorized charges come to $8,056 in reportedly stolen money.

Gidley was arrested and charges were filed by the Wabash County Prosecutor’s Office on March 29. She is facing a single theft charge, a Level 6 felony. After an initial hearing, a preliminary not guilty plea was automatically entered and a jury trial is scheduled for August.