Police: Employees Stole Cash, Bought Lottery Tickets

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POTTSVILLE -- Employees of an Agway store in Schuylkill County are accused of ringing up fake purchases in the amount of $175,000, but investigators also believe they used that stolen money on various things -- including playing the Pennsylvania lottery and winning.

Court paper work says the owner actually captured footage of four employees, all from the same family, ringing up returns with no customer around, pocketing the money, and sometimes playing the lottery in store.

When they won, they bragged about it in the local paper.

Joan Lechleitner, her fiancé, daughter, and nephew had no comment as they left their arraignment in Orwigburg, but each admitted to police that when they worked at the Agway in Cressona, they stole about $175,000 from the business.

Charged are Kerry Titus, 54; Joan Lechleitner, 51; Samantha Schaeffer, 25; and Tyler Schappell, 21; all of Pottsville.

"Everyone was shocked," said store manager Justin Krute. "It is a lot of money, and everybody knows how good of a guy Ron is, so they are super shocked about what happened."

Store owner Ron Yordy had to take out three loans while the family worked for him to keep the business afloat. Finally, he suspected there had to be something more to his business woes.

He installed cameras in his gardening and outdoor supply shop and saw people he considered family partaking in their own family affair.

The new store manager told us what court papers confirm. The former employees would ring up fake store returns, pocket the money, or buy lottery tickets inside the store's automated machine.

And $175,000 can buy a lot of tickets -- enough for the family to win.

In September of last year, they hit the Cash 5 jackpot.  The local Pottsville Republican Herald featured them in an article. They even bragged that it was a "quick pick."

That jackpot, likely with stolen money, added another $261,000 to their already full bank accounts.

All while their 72-year-old boss's account was running dry.

The family actually left the courthouse in a brand new truck, allegedly bought with lottery money.

They were each charged with several counts of felony thefts and are out on $25,000 unsecured bail.

9 comments

  • Dwayne C

    How does a 21 and 25 year old who work at Agway come up with $25,000 for bail? They should all do jail time and be forced to pay back his money and return the lottery winnings!

    • David Wiseman

      Unsecured bail: Release conditioned upon the defendant’s written agreement to be liable for a fixed sum of money if he or she fails to appear as required or fails to comply with the conditions of the bail bond.

  • Bk

    Wow. Back in the days of working at the ball park I guess it was merely a coincidence that the family was always winning the 50/50…

    • Bill K

      Apparently you and I are the only two here who understand the store owner is at least partially at fault. Once again, we see a little mom-and-pop business who think “Oh Bob could never embezzle or rob me! He’s such a nice guy!” Only to find out Bob was “returning” merchandise for refund for five years. When will business owners wise up? It doesn’t require having a CPA on staff to audit the receipts, ledger, bank accounts and checkbook once every quarter.

    • jimbrony

      Not dumb – but trusting. Look at his age: 72. He grew up during a time when you could trust people and most likely had two decent parents. He learned to trust people. His mistake. The generation following him now knows better to trust anyone – and that’s a sad thing. These white-trash former employees of his took advantage of this. i hope they do jail time, make full restitution plus interest and suffering, and this transgression follows them to any other future employer. Any employer that doesn’t do a complete background check on a potential new employee is making a huge error.

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