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A former employee of One Hour Martinizing, 4806 Washington Ave., Racine, is accused of breaking into the building last month and stealing money.

Catrina M. Bell was charged Tuesday in Racine County Circuit Court with three felony counts of burglary of a building. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $25,000 and 12 years, six months in prison.

According to the criminal complaint:
A Racine police officer responded to the business Dec. 3 for a report of a burglary. The owner provided the officer with video footage that showed Bell stealing money after business hours.

The owner stated she had noticed the cash registers had been short for several months. At first, she thought she had miscounted the money or that another employee had been giving incorrect change. After opening the business Nov. 30, the owner reported that money again was missing. Bell had previously been fired for work issues but did not return her key. The owner said she eventually installed security cameras.

Video from Nov. 30 shows Bell entering the store through a rear door, proceeds to the front of the store and takes money from the register. A second video showed Bell repeating that process Dec. 1. The owner reported that $53 was missing when she opened Nov. 30.

Police located Bell and transported her to the police station for questioning. Two large amounts of cash were taken from the defendant’s vehicle.

Bell admitted she had used her key to enter the business and took money on several occasions. She said she burglarized the business because she had fallen on hard times.

The defendant made her initial court appearance Tuesday and is due back for a preliminary hearing Dec. 19 at 8:30 a.m.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.