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.