M&T Bank teller charged with $30,000 theft at State College branch

lfalce@centredaily.comFebruary 25, 2014 

A Bellefonte woman has been charged with stealing $30,000 from M&T Bank.

Dorothea Ann Bird, 49, was arraigned by District Judge Carmine Prestia on Tuesday on one count of theft by unlawful taking, one count of receiving stolen property and five counts of computer trespass, all felonies.

According to court documents, M&T initiated the investigation after a surprise audit Oct. 24, 2013, showed a $30,000 discrepancy in the funds that Bird, the lead teller at the 114 S. Allen St. branch in State College, controlled.

Bird initially explained the missing funds as a customer change order that came in late the day before, according to court documents. When the bank’s regional operations coordinator, Kathleen Crawford, and branch manager, John Heichel, looked closer, Bird then told them she had been carrying the shortage for two to three weeks, the documents show.

In reviewing transactions, Crawford found several suspicious transactions entered or canceled as “attempts by Bird to conceal the missing $30,000,” according to court documents. A review of surveillance video showed Bird removing money from a large box Oct. 19, 2013, but no corresponding transactions, court documents show.

When questioned by State College police Nov. 20, Bird denied taking any money, insisting it was an ATM problem and that she would be able to track it down, police said. In his affidavit of probable cause, Detective Ralph Ralston said “Theft is the only explanation.”

A spokesman for the bank, Phil Hosmer, said, “We view these charges against a former employee as a very serious matter and are working to assist law enforcement in the prosecution of this case.”

Bird is free on $10,000 unsecured bail pending a March 5 preliminary hearing.

Follow Lori Falce on Twitter @LoriFalce.

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