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Prosecutors say an employee at the Rent-A-Center in Butte stole more than $41,000 in Google and Microsoft gift cards from the store over a five-month period.

Chancelor Dean Cobban, 24, pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony theft by embezzlement. It carries a maximum 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 when the value of the stolen property exceeds $10,000.

A district manager at the store told police on Feb. 13 that he discovered Cobban had been stealing gift cards from the store since the previous October.

The manager said each employee has a login for the cash register and that Cobban had been using the store computer to simulate purchases of Google Play cards, which can only be used to buy items or games from Google Play. He also had simulated purchases of Microsoft gift cards that can only be used to purchase items from Microsoft.com, the manager said.

The cards were in $50 and $100 increments, and the manager provided copies of transactions from 819 stolen gift cards used to make purchases of $41,124.

When questioned by a detective, Cobban admitted to stealing everything, prosecutors said.

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“He said he would get the card numbers and used them with his Xbox membership to buy video games, Xbox consoles, and video games accessories,” prosecutors said in a charging document.

“Cobban said a big reason he did it was because Rent-A-Center jerked him around and told him things but did not follow up with it, like promotions etc.,” it says.

Cobban is free on $5,000 bond pending further court proceedings.

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Government and politics reporter

Mike Smith is a reporter at the Montana Standard with an emphasis on government and politics.

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