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Cops work with Wal-Mart to charge Clear Lake couple with felonies


This news story was published on January 24, 2014.
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Clear Lake Police Department

Clear Lake Police Department

CLEAR LAKE – Clear Lake police worked for weeks with behemoth retailer Wal-Mart to protect the store’s merchandise from an alleged pair of crooks.

According to the Clear Lake Police Department, after a six week investigation, charges have been filed against 56-year-old Steven Dirk Epsteen for felony C First Degree Theft and felony B Ongoing Criminal Conduct. Police also filed charges against Epsteen’s accomplice, 52-year-old Victoria Ellen Baumann for felony D Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Theft and Aiding and felony B Abetting Ongoing Criminal Conduct. Both Epsteen and Baumann reside in Clear Lake with a 68 year old disabled man. Epsteen acts as the man’s caregiver.

Police said that on December 9, 2013, the disabled man Epsteen cares for reported that someone had been forging his signature and cashing checks belonging to him. A subsequent investigation by Clear Lake Police Detective Ryan Eskildsen revealed that between June 17, 2013 and December 9, 2013, Epsteen and Baumann had cashed over $14,000 in forged checks on his checking account for merchandise at various businesses. The majority of the checks – amounting to over $12,000 – were used at the Wal-Mart store in Mason City to purchase merchandise. Much of the merchandise purchased was then returned for cash refunds.

Mason City Wal-Mart

Mason City Wal-Mart

Warrants were issued on January 23rd for Epsteen and Baumann. Epsteen was arrested by Clear Lake Police Officers the same evening and is being held at the Cerro Gordo County Jail on a $25,000 cash bond. Baumann has not yet been apprehended.

The Clear Lake Police Department was assisted in its investigation by the Loss Prevention Department at the Mason City Wal-Mart store.

Epsteen, Steven Dirk (dob 1-17-58)

Epsteen, Steven Dirk
SUBJECT IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY

Baumann, Victoria Ellen SUBJECT IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY

Baumann, Victoria Ellen
SUBJECT IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY

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