Steamboat Springs A 25-year-old Steamboat Springs man allegedly went on a one-day grocery shopping spree after mistakenly being credited with more than $10,000 on his food stamp debit card.
Sascha Karl Fischer has been charged with felony theft of between $500 and $15,000 for allegedly buying $4,000 worth of meat and seafood from three area grocery stores Jan. 31.
According to a court report, Fischer bought a variety of meat and seafood after a mistake was made by Routt County Human Service employee Ruth Mewborn.
Bob White, director of the county agency, could not be reached for comment. He is out of the office until Friday.
On Jan. 30, Mewborn adjusted Fischer's food stamp allocation because he had just got an apartment at the D Bar K Motel.
With rent included in Fischer's assistance, Mewborn calculated the man was to receive $106 in food stamps for the month of February, the file shows.
When Mewborn entered the amount into a computer she mistakenly credited the account with $10,600, the file shows.
Fischer, who appeared in court Wednesday, found out about the mistake a day later when he called a toll-free telephone number that gives information regarding account balances, the file shows.
Fischer allegedly bought meat and seafood, which included lobster and crab, from City Market, Safeway and Clark's Market, court records show.
In all, Fischer's food stamp card was allegedly used to make four purchases at City Market. One purchase was for $1,700, which was for a variety of cuts of meat and seafood, the file shows.
Fischer's card was also allegedly used one time at Clark's Market and at Safeway, the file shows.
Fischer was arrested after local authorities became aware of the purchases.
On Feb. 1, an official from the State Electronics Benefit Transaction Division contacted the county's Human Service Department.
The state official notified the local agency of Fischer's account balance and the transactions, the file shows.
Fischer's account was immediately frozen, and authorities were contacted to investigate, according to court records.
Later that day, Routt County Sheriff's Investigator Gary Sigman interviewed the management at each of the three grocery stores to determine if Fischer was the person who purchased the food, the file shows.
Fischer then met with Sigman and Mewborn a day later at the county agency.
When Sigman confronted Fischer about his account and the purchases, he told the investigator he "thought it was backpay," the file shows.
He also allegedly told Sigman, "he thought the money was his, and he figured he could hold as much food as possible," the document states.
He also told Sigman "he wasn't trying to steal anything," adding that he was sorry for what happened, according to court records.
Authorities confiscated the food Fischer allegedly purchased at his residence.
Fischer was allegedly seen loading meat into containers, the file shows.
Adjustments to Fischer's account were necessary after he got an apartment at the D Bar K, 35495 U.S. 40.
He did not have his own residence before moving into the D Bar K, the file shows.
Fischer is being held in the Routt County Jail on a $5,000 bond.
After Wednesday's short court appearance, Fischer's case was continued to 1 p.m. Feb. 28.