Police investigating theft at city church

Staff report


City police continue to investigate what appears to be an internal theft of $146,000 from an East Side church.

The Rev. Keith A. Neal, pastor of Christian Bible Baptist Church, 2369 Oak St., called police Thursday, the same day an outside auditor completed an examination of the church’s financial records and said large amounts of money were misappropriated between 2003 and 2011, police said.

The Mr. Rev. Neal told police that he and the church decided to do an audit of the church finances shortly after his installation in January and hired the firm of Yurchyk & Davis CPA Inc. of Canfield, according to reports.

The pastor also told officers that the church treasurer opposed the audit and suggested a person from another church, who she knew, to do the audit, but the church refused the suggestion, reports stated.

The treasurer and members of her family left the church after the audit was undertaken, the pastor said in the police report.

One discrepancy that the auditing agency reported was monthly checks of $600 written out to family members of a founding church leader who has since died, according to police records.

“The people [of the church] are a little upset,” said Rev. Mr. Neal. “Some are relieved that it was found out.”

“I don’t think it was accidental,” he added.

The pastor said the congregation has about 100 members.

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