Couple behind motorcycle raffle to be charged with theft

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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) -- A Rhinelander couple is expected to be charged with theft after being accused of selling raffle tickets to a drawing that never took place.

An investigation began in July 2016 after a person contacted the police department stating they had purchased six tickets for a motorcycle raffle, but the date of the raffle had been delayed a couple of times. The reporting party feared he'd been scammed.

Police learned William Fritz, 53, organized the raffle to raise money to offset medical costs for his girlfriend, Denise Blamberg, 48. The raffle tickets were sold at several Rhinelander businesses and the raffle was scheduled to be held at a Rhinelander bar.

According to court documents, Fritz told police he had 375 tickets to sell, and pushed back the drawing date because all of the tickets had not yet been sold.

According to court documents, Fritz had not obtained the right permit to host a raffle and was instructed along with Blamberg to refund money to the people that had purchased raffle tickets.

Criminal charges were recommended when the two failed to refund the money.

Online court records show Blamberg will make her first court appearance June 5. A future court date for Fritz had not yet been set.