Merchant pleads guilty to stealing from Fischer’s Newsroom

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Gary Withey, owner of Fischer’s Newsroom on North Main Street, waits on customer Larry Harvey this morning at the North Main Street business.

ALBION A downtown Albion merchant admitted to stealing from a fellow business owner in court on Wednesday.

Denise VanWagner, 60, of Medina pleaded guilty to attempted petty larceny. She will be sentenced in County Court on Sept. 10.

VanWagner will pay partial restitution to Fischer’s Newsroom, where police say she stole $28,303. VanWagner, owner of the Place To Go consignment shop, would go to Fischer’s and watch the store while owner Gary Withey took a bathroom break.

Withey became suspicious about the theft and marked $20 bills that VanWagner then allegedly stole. One time he hid behind a door and witnessed her taking the money. He then called the Albion police.

In March, VanWagner was arraigned on charges of third-degree grand larceny and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. The plea on Wednesday means the case is resolved and won’t go to trial.

“Are we happy? Yes and no,” Withey said this morning. “We’re happy she finally pleaded guilty. And we avoided a trial which saved the taxpayers a lot of money.”

Withey and his wife Denise had the business for sale until taking it off the market about a month ago. Once the theft was stopped, Withey said Fischer’s proved to be a healthy business.

“We’re solvent again, and we’re no longer for sale,” he said.