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Past museum director to stand trial on charges she stole materials from site

Jul 2, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Carol Thiesse pleaded not guilty Tuesday

The former director of Lander's Pioneer Museum has a tentative trial date of Nov. 3 on charges she stole materials from the historical institution before she was fired.

The defendant, Carol Thiesse, pleaded not guilty to two felony charges at a July 1 arraignment in Lander District Court.

Thiesse, 58, faces one charge of larceny by bailee and one of destruction of intellectual property.

The first alleges she stole $29,000 of interpretative signs and flyers from the Pioneer Museum in the summer of 2012. According to the second, she also deleted digital versions of those items and other computer files from museum machines before the Fremont County Museums Board fired her Aug. 22, 2012.

Thiesse is free on bond, and District Court Judge Marvin L. Tyler warned her to follow the conditions of her release.

"I take my orders very seriously, and I take a dim view of people who violate my orders," he said.

Maximum charges for the two felony counts are 13 years in prison and a $13,000 fine.

Prosecutors charged her employee at the time, Joseph Spriggs, with one count of aiding and abetting larceny by bailee, allegedly for helping Thiesse. A circuit court judge dismissed the case against Spriggs in May.

On Aug. 23, 2012, Pioneer Museum staff found that 99 interpretative displays, 39 pictures and nine signs, with a total value of $29,000, were missing, according to an affidavit in the case.

All of the electronic documents that had been on the museum's computer system also had disappeared.

According to an affidavit in the case, surveillance video showed Thiesse removing interpretative signs and pictures from walls and pedestals in the museum and piling the materials up within the facility.

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