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Florida woman charged with ID theft, endangering safety

July 26, 2011

A Florida woman who led Elm Grove police on a high-speed chase after attempting to cash a stolen check faces five felony charges in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Elizabeth A. Sturm, 21, was charged July 18 with two counts of identity theft, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, and attempting to flee an officer.

She is being held in Waukesha County Jail on $100,000 cash bail.

According to the criminal complaint:

Police were called to M&I Bank, 900 Elm Grove Road, July 14 because a teller suspected that Sturm was attempting to cash a stolen check.

Sturm, who was in the drive-through lane, sped across the front lawn, over a sidewalk and westbound on Morningside Lane when she saw the squad car approach.

She tried to lose the pursuing officers, hitting speeds of 55 mph on Sunnyslope Road as oncoming traffic swerved into the ditch and onto front yards to avoid a collision.

A wheel on Sturm's car came off at the intersection of Sunnyslope and Beechwood roads. She was taken into custody after a brief attempt to flee on foot.

Sturm said she was on vacation with five of her friends from Florida who routinely broke into cars to steal checkbooks and IDs.

They forged checks and then paid women 10 percent of the take to cash them, Sturm said.

Sturm faces up to 35 years in prison if she is convicted on all counts. She is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing Sept. 2.

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