Officials from the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Redmond were scanning a surveillance video Monday night and, as expected, they saw that three containers full of cash donations...
Officials from the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Redmond were scanning a surveillance video Monday night and, as expected, they saw that three containers full of cash donations suddenly disappeared from the post’s bar.
They rewound the tape, and they said they saw someone they knew.
That person, according to Redmond police, was a veteran who had been working as one of the VFW post’s cooks for about a year. He was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing up to $500 in donations set aside to help homeless people, to buy teddy bears for troops’ kids and to help the post’s Honor Guard, which holds military funerals.
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Charges had not been filed as of yesterday.
These haven’t been the best of times for the Redmond VFW. Last month, someone swiped $1,700 in proceeds from a deep-fried-turkey sale, a fund-raiser for the Honor Guard. That thief hasn’t been caught, but police said they are investigating whether the cook may be involved.
Yesterday, the post commander, Art Ridge, said he doesn’t think the Bellevue veteran stole the turkey money. The earlier theft happened on another floor, and the man was apparently not nearby.
But the latest crime hurts, post officials said.
“It’s a pretty despicable act when you start to think that it’s a veteran stealing from veterans and their families, and the homeless,” said Jim Weaver, the post’s Honor Guard commander.
“It saddens me that one of our own would do something of that nature.”
The post leaders noticed the latest theft Monday night, so they reviewed the tape from a surveillance camera set up near the bar.
The tape allegedly showed the cook taking the money containers back to the kitchen and putting the containers empty back on the bar an hour later, said Redmond police spokeswoman Stacey Holland.
The containers included a glass jar full of cash to buy sandwiches for homeless people in Seattle, a transparent plastic container with money to buy teddy bears for Fort Lewis children with parents serving in Iraq and a metal container with cash for the Honor Guard.
The containers had $200 to $500 inside.
The man was working alone at the time, preparing lunch, Ridge said.
Police arrested him on suspicion of third-degree theft, a misdemeanor, and released him pending charges.
At least one bright spot remains for the post. Since the theft of the turkey-sale money was publicized last month, the public has given the post about $6,000.
Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or firstname.lastname@example.org