We're learning more tonight about the money stolen from the Bessie Smith Cultural Center a couple weeks ago. Many people would consider this a crime of opportunity.
Bottom line: the money that was stolen wasn't locked up properly. It was brought to the Cultural Center after the Bessie Smith Strut. And what happened after that, according to city leaders, proves that someone else needs to be held accountable for the crime.
Torrey Hines admitted to stealing more than $40,000 from the Bessie Smith Cultural Center just hours after the Bessie Smith Strut had ended.
But the police affidavit reveals more than just a shocking confession and an inside job. It shows that stealing that money was like taking candy from a baby.
In the affidavit, the center's director, Rose Martin, told police that the stolen money was left in a desk drawer locked with a single key. That key was kept in an unlocked safe in the same office. Councilman Moses Freeman says as someone who personally knows suspect Torrey Hines, and has worked so hard to secure funding for the Center, the crime hits home.
"It kind of hurts that Torrey, one, would steal it, and two, that they money would be available and unprotected to the point where he could steal it," said Freeman.
We spoke with Martin earlier this week before Hines' confession.
"We do have policies in place, policies and procedures, you know, pretty good policies and procedures, but everything can be improved. Of course, the board and staff are reviewing what could be done better and we will take the necessary measures to make sure this never happens again," said Martin.
We also now know the Cultural Center is claiming that nearly $90,000 was inside that drawer. More than twice the amount that Hines admitted to stealing.
"I cannot imagine why anyone who is responsible would leave, what they say is $90,000, lying around in a building where there is no alarm system and no camera system available," said Freeman.
Neither Rose Martin nor the Cultural Center board members had any comment on the investigation.
By Natalie Jenereski