BARRE — An East Montpelier woman has admitted to embezzling from Jo-Ann Fabrics in Berlin.

Tammy Lee Baker, 53, pleaded guilty Monday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to a misdemeanor count of embezzlement. Baker was given a six month deferred sentence and placed on probation. She had been facing a felony count of embezzlement but the charge was amended by the state per the plea agreement.

Washington County Deputy State’s Attorney Alfonso Villegas said in court the state came to the agreement because Baker took responsibility for her actions, has a minimal criminal record and has agreed to pay back the money she took.

Officer Justin Pickel, of the Berlin police, said in his affidavit he was dispatched to Jo-Ann Fabrics on Route 302 in October. Pickel said an employee of the company told him another employee had been making fraudulent returns and pocketing the money.

Pickel said the employee in question was Baker and she was a manager at the store. He said Baker was at the store at the time and when he spoke to her she admitted to taking the money. Baker told Pickel she had done it because she had fallen on hard times, according to court records.

The employee that reported Baker for the theft told police he reviewed the store’s surveillance footage and saw Baker transact 25 refunds from August to September when there was no customer in the store. He told police Baker had taken $1,805.05.

Baker provided Pickel with a sworn statement where she said she felt like she had no choice but to take the money because she was homeless at the time. She told Pickel she regretted what she did and offered to do what she could to make it right.

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