Theel accused of embezzling $126k


Matt Adelman & Cinthia Stimson

A grand jury in Arizona has indicted Carmen Theel – the wife of former Glenrock Police Chief David Theel – with embezzling $126,716.12  from a church the couple belonged to prior to moving to Converse County.


Carmen Theel, 54, currently of Madison, Wisconsin, worked for the Pantero Baptist Church for six years, according to court and Tucson, Arizona, police documents.


 Following the grand jury indictment, she was charged in Arizona Superior Court of Pima County with embezzlement of more than $100,000 from the Tucson church. She is also charged with computer tampering while attempting to cover up the theft while she was employed there between 2012 and 2018, according to court documents.


Theel also faces seven felony fraud charges related to her time at the church, the court indictment states.


Embattled Glenrock Police Chief David Theel was fired from his position by the Town of Glenrock Oct. 4, 2021, for allegedly creating a hostile work environment. The firing came after he had been placed on paid administrative leave for nearly nine months, during which time the town conducted a personnel investigation but released almost no other information.


The Theels moved to Glenrock in early 2019 when David was appointed as chief, following his tenure in Arizona with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. He was embroiled in an investigation into misuse of federal funds but nothing came of it, according to news reports at the time.


During their time in Converse County, Carmen Theel was highly active in community and county-wide civic projects. She served on the Converse County Library Board and the Converse County Hope Center Board. In 2020, she was given the Hope Center Volunteer of the Year Award during the Enterprise Community Awards banquet. 



According to Arizona Superior Court documents obtained by the Independent March 27, Carmen Theel faces one count of theft, a class 2 felony; seven counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices (falsifying the church’s records), also a class 2 felony, and one count of computer tampering (covering up the thefts and money misappropriations), a class 3 felony.


The documents state that regarding the first count of theft, Theel is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the church; on the seven counts of fraud she is accused of “(e)ntering false information and omitting true information into the church’s check register spreadsheet and monthly financial statements to hide (the fraud) from church employees, members and officials the amount of funds being issued or that funds from the church’s account were being converted to Carmen Theel’s personal use.”


The charge of computer tampering is based on “entering false information into Pantano Baptist Church’s check register spreadsheet to hide unauthorized payments that were made from the church’s bank account,” according to the grand jury’s findings and court documents.


Tucson Police Department investigations into the case allege that Carmen made thousands of dollars worth of unauthorized personal purchases on Amazon with church funds during the time she worked for them. However, in the investigative reports, many of the names are redacted.


“Upon reviewing the victim’s bank records and Amazon records, it was determined that (name redacted) used the victim’s account to purchase over 300 items from Amazon from April 11, 2015 to March 1, 2019. The purchases totaled $9,778.33. Of those purchases, several items were classified by Amazon as office supplies. Purchases of office supplies total $2,358.03. It cannot be determined if the office supplies were used at the church. About seven orders were delivered to the church. The rest were delivered to the (name redacted) home,” according to police reports.


TPD alleged that from 2013-2018 Theel received 173 extra paychecks resulting in an $60,730 overpayment to herself.


TPD also alleged Theel paid personal household bills, such as utility bills, a credit card bill and cell phone bills with the church’s funds.


A forensic specialist assisted the church into investigating the financial discrepancies that the new church bookkeeper (who was hired after Theel resigned) found. The alleged initial discrepancies were found in November 2019, according to police.


A case management / pretrial hearing is set for today (March 29) in the Pima County Court in Arizona. Theel had been previously allowed by the court to stay in Wisconsin, according to court documents, but must be present in Tucson court in person for this hearing.


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