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Article published July 14, 2013
Woman accused of stealing $20K worth of jewelry
WEST LIBERTY — While out of jail and awaiting trial on charges she stole thousands of dollars from a store where she used to work, a Slippery Rock woman last month allegedly broke into a home here and stole $20,000 worth of jewelry. But the June 16 burglary was no random crime, investigators said. State police suspect 41-year-old Sherrie L. Stiefel broke into the West Liberty Road house when homeowner Dorothy Gerber was at church. Stiefel possibly knew Gerber would be away and the house unoccupied. Her parents, with whom she lives, attend Mass at Gerber’s church, according to court documents. What she didn’t know, however, was that the home was equipped with a video surveillance system, which helped solve the crime, police said. Police last week charged Stiefel with burglary, trespass, theft and receiving stolen property, all felonies. The case is the defendant’s second brush with the law since March 24, when she allegedly stole $5,391 from the Honey Bear convenience store in Butler. Employed there at the time, Stiefel was entrusted to deposit the store’s receipts that night. But instead, police said, she kept the money and later concocted a lie, claiming it was stolen from her car after she stopped to shop in Butler Township before she could deposit the receipts at the bank. Butler Township police arrested her for felony theft and filing a false report. She was arraigned on the charges and released on her own recognizance. Stiefel subsequently waived her preliminary hearing, and the case is pending in Butler County Court. But she landed in trouble again, state police said, when she broke into Gerber’s house.