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YOUNGSTOWN Dog warden's office plans changes after theft



Published: Sat, July 13, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Deposits will now be made daily instead of weekly.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Changes will be made in the way money is handled at the Mahoning County dog warden's office after the theft of some $6,000 earlier this month.

A local veterinarian says that's not enough. He thinks the entire operation needs to be reviewed and overhauled.

Someone broke into the dog pound offices on Industrial Road and took the money, which was in a canvas bag. The thief gained entry by forcing out a vent window.

Dog warden Carol Markovich said the money was from sales of dog licenses and other fees taken in by her staff. Those receipts are generally locked up at the end of each business day and deposited at the county treasurer's office once a week.

It's done weekly instead of daily because her office is on the West Side, while the treasurer's office is in the courthouse downtown.

"It's just not convenient to go down there every day," she said, noting that the office has made weekly deposits for the past 32 years.

More than usual

There was more money on hand at the time of the theft because Markovich had been out of town on vacation for two weeks. She is the only one authorized to make the deposits, so the daily receipts were kept locked away until her return.

"The money was in a locked closet, which was in a locked room, which was in a locked building," she said. "It's not like it wasn't secured."

Neither Markovich nor Detective Michael Kawa of the Youngstown Police Department would comment on whether they think it was an inside job because the matter is still under investigation.

Initial reports listed the loss at about $10,000, but Markovich said that was only an estimate. The actual amount was about $6,000, with about $4,000 in cash and $2,000 in checks made out to the county, she said.

Because of the theft, Markovich said she'll now start making deposits daily instead of weekly.

Veterinarian's criticism

Dr. Donald K. Allen, who has a veterinary office on Market Street, said he thinks county commissioners should use this as an opportunity to scrutinize the whole office, which he said is one of political patronage.

"It's not a bad idea to take a look at this place. It's been run totally without scrutiny," he said.

But county Administrator Gary Kubic said that's not true. He said Markovich answers to commissioners, who have confidence in both Markovich and her operation.

"Once this is thoroughly investigated by the police, people will find out that we run a very good department," Kubic said.

bjackson@vindy.com




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