Bar Burned After Owner Charged With Theft of Missing Gambling Funds
(WASECA, Minn.) - The owner of the Nashville Saloon in Waseca has been accused of stealing gambling funds from the Waseca Hockey Association. Now she's saying backlash from that accusation is the reason someone set fire to the bar early Thursday morning.
47-year-old Rachelle Schoknecht of Mankato has been charged in Waseca County with felony theft by swindle. According to a criminal complaint, a member of the Waseca Hockey Association contacted police on September 7 over their gambling contract with Nashville Saloon. He had been trying to access the funds to complete an audit but Schoknect claims the lock to the safe where the funds were secured is broken and cannot be accessed. She said once she gets a total as to how much is missing from the gambling proceeds, she will have that amount of cash ready for them to pick up.
The total missing, according to the complainant is $6,263.96 meanwhile Schoknect was finally able to get into the safe on September 11; she stated the amount in the safe and the amount from the association is roughly $2,100 different.
Another member of the hockey association tried to get the money from her but Schoknect said her money had been used to retain an attorney, Farrish Johnson law firm in Mankato, to build a case against previous employees she believes stole the money. According to the hockey association member, the attorney said he was not representing her, nor had she paid him any money.
Officers spoke with one of the accused former employees who said in the six months she'd worked there she only accessed the safe twice. She added she heard Schoknecht say she was going to pay a band with the pull tab money, but wasn't sure if that actually happened.
Thursday morning Schocknecht was alerted by her husband that the bar floor had been torched and vandalized, saying at least one vintage guitar was stolen along with several bottles of liquor.
"I think it happened because of all the negative social media," Nashville Saloon owner Rachelle Schoknect said. "From the Hockey Association? I don't want to blame them, I think they're big in this town, lotta lovers, I would like to be able to donate more money to them but because of our legal issue. I think there's a lot of followers that, they've already made threats , I can't say like 'you're gonna die' kind of threats, more of 'are you out of town yet' , 'will you get out', 'ready to leave', that sort of thing. Which my husband thinks it's the vandals that have been doing this so I don't know. I hope that the investigators can figure it out."
The fire remains under investigation. Schoknecht is due in Waseca County Court on the theft charge October 30.
--KEYC News 12