Pierceton Woman Faces Racketeering Charge

(photo supplied / Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office)

A Pierceton woman was charged with racketeering after police say she stole items from Walmart and returned them for gifts cards on several occasions.

Nicole A. Wetli, 28, of 8280 E. U.S. 30, #5, Pierceton, was booked into the Kosciusko County Jail at 12:21 a.m. Monday for racketeering, with a bond set at $3,000.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed in Kosciusko Superior Court III on Nov. 14, 2017, a Warsaw Police Department officer responded to a theft at Walmart on Oct. 22, 2017. The loss prevention employee told police that two women and a man had been working together to steal items on several occasions from Walmart, then returned the stolen items for shopping cards. Within a 21-day period, a total loss of $763.53 was attributed to the trio, according to court papers.

On Sept. 21, 2017, the man, identified as Bruce King, and a woman, identified as Ruth Steffen, entered Walmart and King put cosmetics into a backpack Steffen was wearing. Upon leaving the store, they got into a van, moved the van to a different parking spot, then Steffen re-entered the store and returned the cosmetics for gift cards, the probable cause states. The two then met up and used the gift card to purchase items.

The same event happened again on Sept. 23, 2017, according to court papers. On Oct. 5, 2017, Wetli entered the picture as the person who returned the stolen goods for gift cards. The trio struck four more times on Oct. 6, Oct. 8, Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, the paperwork says.

A warrant for Wetli’s arrest was issued Nov. 14, 2017.

Wetli faces one count of corrupt business influence, a level 5 felony; and four counts of theft, class A misdemeanors.