SEATTLE — A 34-year-old Lakewood police officer was charged with embezzling more than $120,000 from a fund for families of four slain colleagues, then spending the money on trips to Las Vegas and home improvement projects, the U.S. Attorney's Office in western Washington said Wednesday.
Officer Skeeter Timothy Manos also is accused of making purchases at Costco and Home Depot with the money, according to U.S. attorney's office.
“This is a sad day for our community,” U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan in Seattle said in a statement. “These acts betrayed the memory of our fallen heroes, their families, fellow officers and all who supported the fund."
“Stealing from the children of our fallen officers is disgraceful,” Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist told msnbc.com on Wednesday.
Manos was arrested without incident at Lakewood City Hall early Wednesday. He was expected to make his first federal court appearance in Tacoma Wednesday afternoon.
The public contributed more than $3.2 million to the families of the four Lakewood officers who were shot to death by convict Maurice Clemmons in November 2009 at a coffee shop while they were beginning their shifts. The four officers were Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; Ronald Owens, 37; Tina Griswold, 40; and Greg Richards 42.
Clemmons fled the scene, sparking an intense statewide manhunt that ended when a Seattle police officer shot him to death two days later.
The criminal complaint alleges Manos diverted about $151,000 from the donations to a secret account, then used $120,000 of it, including cash withdrawals at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas in April 2010 and at the Hawks Prairie Casino near Olympia, Wash., in December 2010.
Manos had served as the treasurer of the Lakewood Police Independent Guild, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
The Lakewood Police Department issued a statement: "The department is stunned and saddened by the news of the alleged theft. What makes this news particularly difficult to take is that the alleged theft was from donated funds intended for the victim officer’s families."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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