Arbala VFD treasurer accused of stealing $69,000

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

August 4,2 008 - Arbala Volunteer Fire Department's secretary/treasurer was taken into custody Monday morning for allegedly stealing more than $69,000 from the fire department over the last two years.

Sheriff's officers Thursday were presented with information of "suspected illegal activity on the fire department's account." Banking and other account information was obtained Friday by sheriff's investigators, who worked into the early morning hours Saturday poring over the paperwork and matching up records.

After reviewing two years' worth of records, investigators observed a pattern of funds being transferred from the volunteer fire department's account into a personal account belonging to AVFD's secretary/treasurer, Hopkins County Sheriff's Investigator Lewis Tatum and Texas Ranger John Vance said Monday morning.

Officials then sought a warrant for the woman's arrest. Tatum and Vance served her with the third-degree felony theft warrant Monday morning.

She was taken to the sheriff's department, where she reportedly confessed to thefts, according to Tatum and Vance.

The woman was still undergoing the book-in process midmorning Monday. Her name is being withheld until she is formally booked into jail and later arraigned on the third-degree felony theft charge.

As of Monday morning, the investigators said they did not believe anyone else to be involved in or have knowledge of the thefts, but that the investigation is continuing.

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