Bawden Pleads Guilty to Stealing from DuBois Employers

CLEARFIELD – A former DuBois woman charged with stealing from her employers pleaded guilty in Clearfield County Court.

Mary Beth Bawden, 53, whose address is now listed as Erie, pleaded guilty to felony counts of theft in one case and access device issued to another who did not authorize use and theft in a second case.

She was sentenced by Judge Paul Cherry to 90 days to one year in jail and four years consecutive probation. She was fined $920 plus costs and she must pay restitution of $469.

She was ordered to complete 75 hours of community service. She does not have to report to the jail until Dec. 29.

The charges in the first case stem from incidents in Sandy Township in October of 2013 when she was an employee of the Boss’s Office. The second case is also an employee theft from September of 2013 while she was employed at Sears.

Prior to sentencing, Bawden’s attorney, Curtis Irwin, noted that she takes medication for mental health issues and asked Cherry to consider house arrest for her.

Cherry told him that would not happen and stated that it’s his policy that defendants in employee theft cases be incarcerated.

Bawden explained that she is the caretaker of a woman who depends on her and she is the only one that can help her right now.

Cherry said that the bottom line is that she signed a plea for 90 days in jail. He said he would consider a delayed commitment for her sentence, but he was not going to continue the case.

The victim, Lisa Ward, from the Boss’s Office addressed the court before the sentence was announced. She voiced her frustration with Bawden signing an earlier plea agreement, then withdrawing it, and she is “now trying something else” to avoid going to jail. She suggested Cherry give Bawden the 75 hours of community service.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, while Bawden was working at The Boss’s Office police were contacted regarding an employee theft. The owner, Lisa Ward, told police that since she hired Bawden Sept. 26, 2013, she had noticed cash missing from her office. Ward said earlier in the day, she monitored the surveillance system from another room where she could see Bawden take a large sum of money and put it in her pants pocket.

An officer made contact with Bawden and ordered her to turn over the money. Bawden denied taking it. After she was told the theft was caught on video, she stated she needed money for a doctor’s appointment. She reached in her pocket, removed the money and said she was sorry. She stated she would return the rest of the money she had taken.

The total missing from the office was $3,172.

The criminal complaint in the other case states police were called to the Sears store at the DuBois Mall on Sept. 16, 2013 to investigate an incident of employee theft. The loss prevention manager told police that she had been reviewing surveillance video of a new employee, Bawden, who worked in the jewelry department.

On the video, she could see Bawden taking cash out of the store register and putting it into her pocket. There were also questions regarding a Sears gift card that had been used at K-Mart three times by Bawden. An investigation continued and uncovered more thefts on surveillance video by Bawden. In all, eight incidents of Bawden taking money from the cash drawer were discovered beginning Sept. 5, 2013 and ending Sept. 15, 2013. These totaled $367.

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