Former employee suspect in Annapolis City Hall theft, but no charges

More than $150,000 taken in June theft

December 09, 2010|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

A former Annapolis city employee has been identified as the suspect in a theft from City Hall this year, but the state's attorney's office has declined to press charges, city officials announced Thursday morning.

The Annapolis Police Department has concluded its investigation into the theft of more than $150,000 in checks and cash from the finance department, reported to police June 8 by then-Finance Director Tim Elliott, who the city said is not the suspect.

Although Elliott immediately reported the theft to police, Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen did not learn of the theft until a week later, when police called to give him an update on the incident. Elliott has since resigned.

City officials did not identify the suspect, other than saying the person no longer works for the city.

A spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office said although police identified a suspect, there wasn't enough evidence to win a conviction because several other employees, in addition to the suspect, had access to the vault.

"The police conducted a thorough investigation, but unfortunately because of the practices in place at City Hall at the time, we could have not have taken the case to court," said Kristin Fleckenstein, the spokeswoman.

Following the theft, Cohen initiated sweeping security changes at City Hall, including requiring all city employees to wear ID badges and hiring a security guard to work the front entrance of City Hall during business hours.

Visitors are required to sign in, and other access to the building has been curtailed. Other security measures include the use of armored-car services for daily pick-up of deposits, additional security cameras and restricted-access safes in several different city departments.

The Finance Department also adopted several internal controls following an audit by Anne Arundel County Auditor Teresa Sutherland.

The theft resulted in the loss of $149,841 and $3,982 in cash. More than $130,000 in checks has been reissued to the city. The city stamps all checks as "deposit only" so they can't be cashed.

The money bag was placed in the vault at the close of business on June 7 and the vault was locked. When Elliott arrived to work on June 8, the bag was not in the vault.

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