This is my home town. Don't know when I will stop laughing.
Article published Apr 13, 2006
Treasurer's office loses bank deposit bag containing $1.3 million in checks
Bulletin Staff Writer
A money bag containing $1.3 million in checks was returned by a Mountain Home family to the Baxter County treasurer's office Friday after a part-time office assistant lost the deposit while on her way to the bank earlier in the day.
Baxter County Treasurer Nelda Speaks said the deposit, which contained no cash, is completely accounted for. "The buck stops here, and I take full responsibility for what happened," Speaks told The Bulletin Wednesday. "We're very thankful for the honest people in Baxter County."
The deposit was found in the northbound lane on Highway 62/412 in front of the Baxter County Courthouse, at approximately 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to Maureen Rozelle, a local witness. Rozelle said she and her husband were stopped at the stoplight when a silver Toyota Avalon pulled up next to them in an adjacent lane.
The owner of the Avalon, Richard Hood, said his daughter retrieved the deposit bag after he and his wife noticed it lying in the road. "We drove around the block, looked in there and then took it back to the courthouse after we figured out who it belonged to," Hood said.
The bag was returned by Hood to the employee who lost the deposit, Speaks said. "She has worked in this office for eight years and she is the best county employee," Speaks said of the employee, who wished to remain anonymous. "She is devastated by the whole thing."
No police reports were filed by the treasurer's office in connection with the lost deposit, Speaks said. She said it was returned so quickly by Hood that there was no need to file a report.
Rozelle said she contacted the Mountain Home Police Department and informed them of the taking of the deposit bag. Inquiries with the MHPD revealed there is no report on file about the incident.
Two checks in the deposit are worth approximately $1 million combined, Speaks said. The two checks were reimbursements from the state for property taxes collected in the county, she said.
In the future, the treasurer's office will take steps to prevent this from happening again, Speaks said. A bigger money bag with an arm strap will be used from now on, she said.
At no time was the county's money in danger, Speaks said. The checks were all stamped and no one could have cashed them, she said. If the checks hadn't been returned, Speaks said she would have canceled them and asked for new checks.
Speaks said she hopes the incident doesn't portray the treasurer's office in a bad light. "We strive for perfection in this office," Speaks said. "Every year we have clean audits and balanced books. I take full responsibility. It won't happen again."
source: The Baxter Bulletin