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Man to be sentenced next month for stealing from ATM

WILLMAR -- A 34-year-old Cosmos man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony theft charge for reprogramming the code in an automated teller machine and taking $7,400 from the machine.

Sheldon Dee Peterson also entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge for fleeing a peace officer on foot. As part of a plea ag-reement entered in Kandiyohi County District Court, an-other misdemeanor for driving after revocation will be dismissed. He will be sentenced Sept. 1.

The charges were filed after a Kandiyohi County sheriff's detective was assigned to investigate the theft of cash from the Lake Lillian branch of Citizens State Bank of Clara City. Bank employees reported that since Feb. 7 there had been ATM transactions during which the code for the cash bill denominations was changed prior to the transactions.

The machine was being reprogrammed to record cash distributions that were much less than what was actually paid out. This had happened six times in a week.

The detective reviewed surveillance video and staked out the building that evening. Around 11 p.m., a vehicle pulled up, and a person, later identified as Peterson, got out and approached the ATM. He matched the general description of the person in the video surveillance. The detective arrested Peterson and found 32 $20 bills on him. He attempted to run away from the officer, but was physically subdued and taken into custody. Bank officers checked the ATM and found that the code had been changed, which was consistent with what had been done to the machine on the other occasions.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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