A former cashier at the Timesaver store in Holmes Beach was found not guilty of theft or embezzlement following a bench trial Oct. 1 in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court.
Jeanna Mehrhoff, 29, of 7504 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, was arrested Feb. 1 on charges of grand theft after allegedly confessing to stealing lottery tickets valued at $2,223, according to police and court records.
Judge Peter A. Dubensky heard the evidence, which included the testimony of Mehrhoff, her brother, a Timesaver representative and the arresting police officer, according to assistant state attorney Garrett Franzen, who prosecuted the case.
Franzen said the judge then took a 5-10 minute break and came back to announce the finding of not guilty. Dubensky did not include any reasoning in his order.
At the trial, Franzen said Mondher Kobrosly presented Timesaver records that showed lottery tickets were purchased during a period when insufficient funds were taken into the cash drawer, saying the “majority of it was during the month of January.”
Franzen also said Kobrosly presented some but not all of the supporting business records, and testified some records were lost when a computer crashed.
Anne Hunter, Mehrhoff’s public defender, said, “The owner had absolutely no business records to show any discrepancy,” adding there was testimony of others who were allowed to run lottery tickets at that time. She also said Kobrosly is the owner of the Timesaver store at 5353 Gulf Drive.
At the time of the arrest, according to Hunter, police came to Mehrhoff’s residence, read her Miranda rights and told her she’d be going to the station to sign an affidavit, but instead took her to the store where she allegedly confessed to the discrepancy.
Hunter added, “It was not a valid confession. The confession was gotten with three uniformed police officers standing over her at the store,” she said, adding Kobrosly and his nephew also were there.
After the trial, Kobrosly disagreed with the verdict, and blamed it on a defendant who knew how to work the system.
“You know I don’t get it,” he said. “The judge, I respect he’s a judge, and it’s his decision.”
Kobrosly said Mehrhoff had been working alone on two occasions from which he traced the missing money, and “she admitted to everything.”
A week after Mehrhoff’s arrest, the state’s attorney filed the third-degree felony theft/embezzlement charges, alleging Mehrhoff intended to deprive Timesaver and/or Kobrosly of property valued at $300-$5,000. Franzen said his office met its legal and ethical burden when it filed the initial charges against Mehrhoff. He added that “not in all cases does that mean there will be a guilty finding.”
In a separate matter against Mehrhoff, stemming from a misdemeanor marijuana possession arrest a month after the alleged Timesaver incident, a hearing had been set for Oct. 5.
Mehrhoff’s public defender William Sheslow filed a written motion in June that argued Mehrhoff’s misdemeanor charges should be dismissed because a 2002 state marijuana possession law did not require her to know the illicit nature of the crime.
However, according to the 12th Judicial Circuit Court assistant state’s attorney supervisor Heather Doyle, the Florida Supreme Court ruled July 12 the state marijuana possession law is constitutional — making Sheslow’s motion apparently moot.
Mehrhoff’s mideamnor case was continued to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 15 before Judge George K. Brown Jr. in Courtroom C, 1051 Manatee Ave. W, according to an assistant state’s attorney.