An Oak Creek couple was cleared Friday of charges that they stole from a Stagecoach homeowner's association.
A jury found 54-year-old Cynthia Daley Riebschlager and her husband, 51-year-old Tommy Riebschlager, not guilty of Class 4 felony theft charges after a week-long trial.
The Riebschlagers pleaded not guilty to the charges in September. Cynthia Riebschlager, former property manager for the Wagon Wheel Homeowner's Association, and Tommy Riebschlager, former president of the association, were accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the association during three years of their employment with the group.
During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Tammy Jenson presented evidence that Cynthia Riebschlager wrote more than 80 Wagon Wheel Homeowner's Association checks for personal items such as shampoo, hair dye, menopause medication, pet food, batteries and stationary without paying the money back.
Jenson said the Riebschlagers also wrote checks to each other from the association's checkbook without authorization.
Jenson said the homeowner's association became aware of the problem in 2004, after the Riebschlagers left the association and a new association board was appointed to figure out where the association's missing money was.
"For three years (the Rieb--schlagers) took that money, and they squandered it. They bought hair dye. They bought fishing licenses. They bought headlights and headlights for their cars; obviously personal items. They never paid the money back. They betrayed the trust of the people in the (Wagon Wheel Homeowner's Association)," Jenson said during her closing arguments Thursday afternoon.
The Riebschlagers' attorney, Charles Feldmann, told the jury during his closing remarks that the trial was a joke and that the prosecution did not adequately meet its burden to prove his clients' guilt.
"If you conclude anything from this, you've got to conclude the Wagon Wheel Homeowner's Association is one messed up community. You've got to conclude these people are borderline ridiculous -- the things they tattle on, the things they complain about," he said.
Feldmann argued that Jenson was jumping to the conclusion that his clients' purchases were for personal use.
"(The prosecution) can't conceive of the fact that (Tommy Riebschlager) would buy a headlight for a snowmobile he used for work. (The prosecution) just can't conceive of that fact," Feldmann said.
Feldmann also addressed Jenson's point that the Riebschlager's phone bill was exor----bitant and beyond what a basic phone bill would cost.
"(The Riebschlagers) live, breathe and eat Wagon Wheel. They would take phone call after phone call to deal with problem after problem. Most of those people lived a thousand miles away," he said.
During her rebuttal, Jenson said she hoped the jury could see through Feldmann's attacks on her.
"When you can't attack the law or the facts, attack the prosecution. This is a smokescreen. See through it. A lot of people who commit crimes aren't that smart. They don't cover their tracks, that's why we have convicted thefts in this country. (The Riebschlagers) got away with it for three years. They never thought they'd get caught," Jenson said.
Jenson and other Wagon Wheel Homeowner's Assoc--iation members declined to comment on the case Friday.
"I am so happy for Tom and Cindy, and I am grateful that they can now put this two-year saga behind them, and move on in life," Feldmann said.
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