BARRE — A Montpelier woman is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a Capital City business.

Hannah R. Peatman, 36, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to a felony count of embezzlement and a misdemeanor count of petty larceny. If convicted, Peatman faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison. She was released on conditions.

Detective Matthew Knisley, of the Montpelier police, said in his affidavit on Nov. 13 that Sara Lourie, owner of Food for Thought, called police to report Peatman, her employee, had been stealing from the business. Knisley said he spoke with Lourie by phone on Nov. 17 and she reported she had been in London from Sept. 3 to Oct. 6 because of a personal matter. Lourie told Knisley she left the business in the hands of Peatman, including the business ATM card.

Knisley said Lourie reported she had allowed Peatman, the company’s baker, to use the card to buy supplies for the business. She told Knisley during that time she discovered Peatman had withdrawn $500 from the account.

Knisley said Lourie reported she confronted Peatman when she returned home and Peatman told her she would repay the money. Lourie told Knisley she continued to let Peatman use the card. The detective said Lourie reported she later found out Peatman had taken another $5,000 from the account using ATMs in Montpelier and Berlin.

Knisley said Lourie reported Peatman admitted to taking the money and said she had let someone back into her life that she should not have.

Knisley said he contacted Northfield Savings Bank, which provided photos of Peatman at the ATM in Montpelier withdrawing money from the business account.

Knisley said he met with Peatman on Dec. 10, and she reported she was asked by someone to take the money and she was supposed to be paid back but wasn’t. The detective said Peatman wouldn’t tell him who asked her to get the money and she wanted to deal with the situation herself.

Knisley said Peatman acknowledged taking more than $1,000, but she wasn’t sure just how much she took.

eric.blaisdell @timesargus.com

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