BENNINGTON -- A Shaftsbury woman told police she stole money from her employer so her children could have a good Christmas.

Tangalee V. Thomas, 30, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to four felony, and one misdemeanor, counts of embezzlement. She was released on conditions she not go to Paulin's Inc. on Route 7A in Shaftsbury, where she worked.

According to an affidavit by Vermont State Trooper Travis Hess, on Dec. 21 he spoke to Robert Paulin, owner of Paulin's, who suspected Thomas had stolen money from the cash register she operated at the store. He said he noticed the register's totals were off by unusually large amounts on the days and times Thomas worked, and that a surveillance video showed her acting strangely when she moved money from the register to a drop safe.

Paulin told police of five days between Dec. 12 and Dec. 21 when he suspected Thomas had taken money. The amounts were $53, $174, $227, $263, and $128.

Hess said he spoke to Thomas outside the store on Dec. 22 and she admitted to taking between $20 and $40 the day before. She denied taking any that day, but when told Paulin would be returning shortly to check the register totals she admitted to taking a $100 bill. She was arrested, and told police she started taking small amounts, then more when it went undetected. She did not think she ever took over $200 at a time. She did this in order to give her children a good Christmas, she said.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.