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Missing Courtroom Evidence Leads to Misdemeanor Charges

Mukwonago woman faces 18 months in prison after taking a tape recorder left in the witness box in a Waukesha County courtroom and tries to destroy it after she testifies, according to a criminal complaint.

A 33-year-old Mukwonago woman is facing charges after she allegedly stole a tape recorder with evidence on it during a hearing in

Mary Therese Sullivan was charged Wedensday with one count of criminal damage to property and one count of theft. If convicted, she faces up to 18 months in prison and $20,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint:

In March, another woman had filed for an injunction against Sullivan and had a hearing on the matter in front of court Commissioner Laura Lau. During the hearing, the woman played a tape recorder with voicemail messages left to her by Sullivan, which were then submitted for evidence.

The recorder was left in the witness box and Sullivan gave testimony. After the testimony, her lawyer informed Lau he needed to get to another hearing in the courthouse.

Lau informed the other woman to keep the tape recorder as evidence in case of an appeal on the injunction. However, a Waukesha County sheriff’s deputy was unable to find the recorder. The deputy found Sullivan outside and asked if she had the recorder.

Sullivan handed the recorder back and it appeared broken as if someone had tried to bend it in half. When asked why she took the recorder, Sullivan told the deputy “because it was left there.”

She will make her initial appearance in court Sept. 10. 

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