Woman accused of stealing from churches
Tanya L. Ludke, 41, Waupaca, is charged with two counts each of forgery and theft.
She is accused of stealing checks from St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church and Trinity Lutheran Church, in Waupaca.
On Thursday, June 18, Detective Sgt. John Mocadlo, of the Waupaca Sheriff’s Department, met with St. Mary Magdalene’s director of special projects. He told the detective Ludke had a 10 a.m. appointment that day with a counselor in order to obtain financial assistance.
The director also said parish volunteers were selling raffle tickets for its Family Fun Festival. They were placing the ticket stubs and the money they collected into a box at the church office.
Money and ticket stubs were missing from the box.
At 12:30 p.m., a teller at Farmers State Bank called the church and said a woman had attempted to cash a personal check from one of the bank’s officers. The check was originally made out to “SMM,” which had been crossed out and Tanya Ludke written over it. The teller refused to cash the check and kept it.
On March 17, a staff person at Trinity Lutheran Church spoke with Waupaca Police Officer Wesley Zube. She said she had mailed a credit payment in February and placed the check and envelope in the church’s outgoing mail basket.
She later learned that the check had never been received.
When the woman looked at her online banking account, she discovered that the check had been cashed at First National Bank on Feb. 17. When she opened a visual record of her check, she saw that the credit company’s name had been scratched out and “Tanya Ludke” was written above it.
Zube went to First National Bank and reviewed a security camera photo from Feb. 17. It appears that Ludke, who is not a customer of the bank, is cashing the check.
Zube then went to Ludke’s apartment on East Union Street.
According to the criminal complaint, Ludke told Zube that the church gave her the check. He then showed her a copy of the check and pointed out that it was not from the church’s account.
Ludke denied scratching out the company’s name and putting her own name on the check.