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Former VFW manager charged with theft

The former manager of the Osakis VFW Post faces two felony theft charges for allegedly taking money from the post's ATM machine for her own personal use.

Michelle Renee Manders, 39, was charged in Todd County District Court on April 3 with theft of more than $5,000 and theft of more than $1,000. She is scheduled to appear in court on April 23.

On Jan. 25, the Osakis Police Department contacted the Todd County Sheriff's Office about a report of theft from the Osakis VFW and Manders was identified as the suspect, according to court documents.

The sheriff's office handled the investigation because of a conflict of interest — Police Chief Chad Gulbranson and Officer Calvin Uhl both serve on the post's gambling committee.

The sheriff's office reviewed the VFW's accounting documents, which indicated losses from the ATM machine in 2015, 2016 and 2017 totaling $17,420.

As manager, one of Manders' duties was to fill the ATM machine when it was short on funds, according to court documents.

After Manders was informed of her rights, she admitted taking money from the machine that totaled up to $8,000 for her own use, according to court documents. The thefts would have taken place in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The statute of limitations prevented charges from being filed for any funds that were missing prior to 2015.

The first theft charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine while the second charge's maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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