Court upholds box office manager's theft conviction

Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Alaska's highest court has upheld the conviction of a former University of Alaska Fairbanks employee convicted of skimming cash from theater bank deposits.

Box office manager Lindalee Cowles was found guilty of second-degree theft by a jury in 1996. While university officials estimated she had stolen at least $12,000 between September 1994 and April 1995, Cowles herself reportedly told police she had taken about $1,000. The court settled on an amount of $8,750 for her to repay in addition to serving six months in prison.

The verdict was upheld by the Alaska Court of Appeals in 1998. The verdict was then appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.

One of the key pieces of evidence against Cowles was a videotape of her altering a cash deposit receipt, as well as taking cash from the university cash bag and transferring it both to her desk and her purse.

The Supreme Court appeal was based on the fact that Cowles had been recorded on a hidden videocamera set up by UAF police. Cowles alleged that was an illegal invasion of privacy. The court's ruling noted Cowles' desk was not in a very private area.

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