EVANSTON — A former City of Evanston employee has been arrested and charged with three counts of felony theft for allegedly stealing several thousand dollars from the Evanston Police Department (EPD) over an approximately three-year period. Selina Zuehlsdorff was previously employed as an administrative assistant at the EPD and was arrested following an investigation conducted by the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a sheriff’s office report, Uinta County Sheriff Doug Matthews was contacted by Police Chief Jon Kirby in late July and asked to conduct an investigation. Sergeant Brooke Hale conducted that investigation.
The investigation reportedly started after Zuehlsdorff took time off from work in late June and her coworker Linda Liechty noticed the cash in the till was $50 short from what was recorded on receipts. Liechty reported the shortage to Lt. Ken Pearson and Kirby, and Pearson began to look back through deposits and receipts to the beginning of the year, ultimately finding almost $1,000 in discrepancies.
Zuehlsdorff, who completed the weekly reconciliation and made the weekly deposits, reportedly began acting strangely and took several more days off from work, before coming into the police department and allegedly telling Pearson and Kirby that she had been taking money for years, at which point her employment was terminated. Kirby then requested the sheriff’s office investigation.
Hale went back through receipts and deposits for 2017 to 2020, finding significant and regular cash losses on numerous occasions, totaling over $6,000. Hale documented a cash loss in 2017 of $2,685, with another $933 loss in 2018, $1,813 in 2019 and $740 through June 2020.
According to interviews conducted by Hale, it was not common practice at the EPD to have two people go over the receipts and deposits and Zuehlsdorff regularly completed that work without any type of verification of amounts. Cash transactions regularly occurred for services such as VIN inspections and fingerprinting and document fees. The EPD has reportedly now changed their practices for handling cash deposits.
Zeuhlsdorff is scheduled to be in Uinta County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 20.
In Wyoming, theft is considered a felony if the total value is $1,000 or more. The penalty for felony theft is up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $10,000 or both.