Manatee County woman arrested for stealing from Bradenton small business she worked at

A Manatee County woman is accused of stealing cash from a small business she worked at in Bradenton by manipulating the register, according to records. 

Felicia Stivers, 51, of Arcadia, was arrested and charged with scheme to defraud $50,000 or more, a felony, after records show she pocketed money from several transactions over a two-week period at the Chop Shop in Bradenton.

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According to Stivers' affidavit, an employee at the Chop Shop, a grocer and butcher shop, came to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office in March to report a suspicious situation with Stivers.

The employee initially told MCSO Stivers had been stealing from the store by performing cash reserves through the register and stealing money from the reverses. She said the store could have lost somewhere in the range of $150,000 to $300,000.

Stivers, who had been a cashier at the store for just under three years, had been granted a large amount of trust by her employers over her time spent there, so she would deal with payroll, bank runs, and cash reverses. 

The employer explained to MCSO that at the end of each business day, the cashier took the pile of cash payment receipts from that day, counted them, and matched them to the end-of-day money. 

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She said Stivers, though, would go through the receipts and hand-select certain receipts and remove them from the box, taking them to another register and performing a cash transaction reverse, which would make it appear like the transaction never happened. She would then take the money to herself and pocket it, the employer stated.

The employer was able to provide video surveillance from February 28 through March 14, which records indicated showed 9 days of transactions in which Stivers pocketed money from the business. 

The total stolen for those 9 days of surveillance was around $6,028, according to records. Stivers was eventually terminated for the theft. 

Detectives interviewed Stivers where she expressed shock at how much money the employer had accused her of stealing but did admit to stealing some money. 

Stivers' affidavit lists her charges as scheme to defraud less than $20,000, but that has since been bumped up to scheme to defraud $50,000 or more. 

She entered a plea of not guilty in late June to those charges.