A theft from a locked vehicle earlier led to criminal charges filed Tuesday in Racine County Circuit Court against a 48-year-old Ohio woman after she went on a spending spree.

Valerie J. Dreger faces two felony charges of uttering a forgery and one felony count of credit card theft, along with a misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property.

The two felony forgery charges carry a fine of $10,000 and six years in prison, while the other felony carries a fine of $10,000 and three years, six months in prison. The misdemeanor carries a fine of $10,000 and nine months in county jail.

Dreger, who was in custody, made her initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

According to the criminal complaint:
A Village of Mount Pleasant police officer responded to Xperience Fitness, 5409 Washington Ave., on Aug. 1, for a report of a theft from a vehicle. The victim stated she left her purse and laptop in her trunk when she went inside, and when she came out about an hour later, she observed the passenger window had been broken.

Taken from the trunk were the laptop (valued at $800), four bags (valued at $350), $140 in cash and a thumb drive (valued at $60). The victim also reported that her personal and business debit and credit cards also were taken.

Two days later, police learned that checks made out to the victim were cashed without consent, one in the amount of $980 and the other for $723. In addition, several charges for a total of $419.27 were made at a number of area businesses.

Surveillance video at Educators Credit Union showed a vehicle with a Missouri registration the defendant had rented at an Enterprise and had been reported stolen as of Aug. 3. The video showed Dreger cashing checks that had been reported stolen from a parked vehicle in Columbus, Ohio.

The defendant was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by police Monday. During a search of her personal items, police found a number of purses and wallets that contained several bank cards, along with insurance and membership cards that didn’t belong to Dreger.

Police also found a checkbook that belonged to the victim in Ohio, along with a glass “punch” commonly used to break car windows and two items of drug-related paraphernalia.

A preliminary hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. August 23 in Racine County Felony Court.


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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.