Tahlequah Daily Press

February 28, 2013

Local man admits to pawning county property

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators say a former county employee has admitted to pawning several items belonging to District 3.

Sheriff’s Capt. Bob Sanders said the man – who has not been arrested or charged – was working out of the Keys area barn for District 3 Commissioner Mike Ballard. He allegedly took one of the county’s Stihl weed-eaters last May and hocked it for $45 at a local pawn shop.

Sanders said the man did the same to other items, including a chainsaw and limb saw, in June and July. All of the items were pawned at the same business.

The man who pawned the merchandise always returned and paid to get the items back, then returned them to the District 3 shop in Keys, according to a report prepared by Sanders.

The suspect met with Sanders last week and admitted he took the items and pawned them. He told Sanders his family was going through tough financial times, and he believed he had no other way to generate money to pay utility bills.

Sanders said the man was fired from his job with the county when officials learned of his alleged misdeeds. Sanders also said the man appeared to be “honest and remorseful” when interviewed about the allegations.

A copy of Sanders’ report will be provided to the District Attorney’s Office.