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Swett gets 20 years probation in Wal-Mart case

Banned from all Wal-Mart stores

October 17, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - A 38-year-old Worthington woman who pleaded guilty last month to felony kidnapping and gross misdemeanor terroristic threats at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in June was sentenced Tuesday in Brown County District Court.

Elisheba J. Swett received a stay of imposition for felony kidnapping. She was fined $3,155, sentenced to 187 days in the Brown County Jail, credited with 125 days served, and placed on 20 years supervised probation. Conditions include paying restitution as determined by the court, completing a chemical use assessment and psychological evaluation and following all recommendations, having no contact with victims and all Wal-Mart stores, registering as a predatory offender as required by law, participating in victim/offender mediation if appropriate or write apology letter and submit to probation for approval.

Successful probation completion will result in a misdemeanor conviction.

For the terroristic threat charge, Swett was placed on two years supervised probation.

After a 30-day period to receive possible additional claims, a restitution hearing will be set by the court. Court-appointed defense attorney Tom Van Hon of Fairfax said he received a $101,000 restitution claim from Wal-Mart Corp.

Charges of second-degree aggravated robbery, fifth-degree assault and theft were dismissed.

Prosecuting attorney Josh Steinbrecher of New Ulm told Judge Robert Docherty that he was satisfied with the sentence.

Swett has been in the Brown County Jail on $100,000 unconditional bail since June 14.

According to the complaint, New Ulm Police responded to Wal-Mart at 6:25 p.m. on June 14, 2012 after a caller said a store employee was being forced from the store by a female suspect, later identified as Elisheba Swett. The caller said Swett claimed to have planted a bomb in the store and had a detonator in her pocket, according to the complaint.

The store employee said Swett used her as a "human shield," forcing her through the parking lot.

Witnesses said Swett released the woman when police arrived. She resisted arrest briefly before she was taken into custody and transferred to the Brown County Jail.

Police evacuated the store, searched it and found no bomb. Customers were allowed back in the store at about 8:30 p.m.

Police observed the entire sequence of events on Wal-Mart's video surveillance system, which matched accounts given by store employees.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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