Woman accused of doctoring pull tabs

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A woman stole thousands of dollars from pull-tab operations in the Norton Sound villages of Stebbins and St. Michael, Alaska State Troopers said.

Carolyn Kirk, 39, of Stebbins, allegedly stole up to $15,000 between November 2001 and April 2002 by doctoring pull tabs to make old winners look new. She was arrested last week and charged with second-degree felony theft.

Pull tabs, a gambling game in which people match icons to posted winning combinations, are a major source of revenue, along with bingo, for Native corporations, said trooper Chad Goeden.

Kirk pilfered winning pull tabs that were bundled together, troopers said. She then split the tabs and glued winning icons onto losers, making the winning ones look like they hadn't been signed, Goeden said.

But when some of the fake tabs fell apart, game administrators became suspicious and started examining all her winners.

Pull-tab theft is relatively common, said Nome District Attorney John Vacek. Villages get a finite amount of money from each game, he said. Officials should have noticed they were losing money before now.

Kirk was arrested last Tuesday and released on her own recognizance. A hearing has been scheduled later this month in Nome Superior Court.

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