Theater official held in stealing

October 15, 1992|By Bill Talbott and Kerry O'Rourke | Bill Talbott and Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writers Reporter Traci A. Johnson contributed to this article.

The treasurer of the Carroll Players of Westminster was arrested yesterday and charged with stealing $23,000 from the little theater group's funds over a two-year period.

Arnold Thomas Vandervalk, 56, of the 100 block of Willis St., was arrested at his Westminster home about 1 p.m. by members of the criminal division of the city police department as the result of a two-month investigation, Lt. Dean A. Brewer reported.

Players member Marcia Bogash of Millers said she received a suicide letter from Mr. Vandervalk in late July saying he was sorry he had taken the money. She then called police, who were not able to find Mr. Vandervalk.

He disappeared for about three weeks. When he returned, he gave the Players all the company's books, she said.

"He was a charming man, bright, articulate, an excellent actor. We all trusted him completely. He was a good friend," Mrs. Bogash said.

"This has left us absolutely penniless. He took everything we had," she said.

She said she does not know what Mr. Vandervalk did with the money.

She said she wasn't sure what he did for a living, but thought he was "some kind of entrepreneur" and is divorced.

"We are so confused by this and so devastated. I feel like I lost a valuable member of my family," Mrs. Bogash said.

Creditors have been "kind," she said.

But the alleged theft left the Players $6,500 to $7,000 in debt, she said.

Lieutenant Brewer said Mr. Vandervalk was treasurer of the Carroll Players Company Inc. from 1990 to July 1992.

In addition to writing 66 checks to himself, 40 of them for more than $300 each, he is charged with failing to make a deposit of $1,600 and using that money himself, according to police reports.

Lieutenant Brewer said Mr. Vandervalk was taken into custody at his house after he failed to come to the police station in response to a request for his appearance that was left at the house earlier yesterday. Mr. Vandervalk was taken before a court commissioner and held on $100,000 bail.

Arnie Hayes, who is founder of the Westminster theatrical group September Song, said he has known Mr. Vandervalk for nearly 30 years.

Mr. Hayes said he "didn't want to believe" his friend was guilty of the crime for which he had been arrested.

He said Mr. Vandervalk backed out of a small part in the production "Anything Goes," which took place this fall.

"His son called me in July to tell me Arnie [Vandervalk] could not participate in the play," he said. "When I was told, I was very upset. I just wanted to do anything I could for the family.

"Arnie had always been such a nice and giving man."

Mr. Hayes said he met Mr. Vandervalk in the 1960s when the latter was performing at a Mechanicsville theater.

Since then they had worked together on several projects, including a performance of the "Sunshine Boys" in 1990 at a dinner theater Mr. Hayes formerly owned.

Mr. Hayes said Mr. Vandervalk had spent several years as a banker, but he did not know his friend's current employment.

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