Pharos-Tribune

October 22, 2013

Former Cass building superintendent charged with stealing from county

Affidavit alleges county-owned items found at residence and employee made unauthorized charges

by Mitchell Kirk
Pharos-Tribune

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The former Cass County building superintendent is facing a pretrial conference next month after being charged with stealing county-owned items and making more than $1,200 in personal purchases on a county charge card.

A probable cause affidavit filed in Cass County Superior Court I by Detective Dale Campbell with the Cass County Sheriff's Department states a search warrant was executed the morning of Sept. 25 at the home of Eli Smith, former Cass County building superintendent, in the 1400 block of Clifton Avenue.

Several county-owned items were found on the property and confiscated, including a clamp meter, Wi-Fi extender, three pipe wrenches, a sewer snake, stud censor and bucket of tools, according to the affidavit. It states Smith did not have permission to remove any items from county property for personal use.

The warrant also authorized the sheriff's department to inspect boards used in a swing set on the property and seek out a fire extinguisher, which was not found.

Four Walmart invoices for a Cass County government charge card included in the case file reflect purchases for two iPads, an iPad case, crayons, glue sticks, markers, pencils, erasers and index cards totaling $1,202.30.

The affidavit states Smith was identified on surveillance video purchasing these items and that the school supplies were matched to those on a list released by the school Smith's son attends.

The iPads were found in a tool room of the Cass County Government Building garage, according to the affidavit.

Smith was arrested on charges of four counts of theft and one count of receiving stolen property. Court records indicate he was released from the Cass County Jail earlier this month on $1,000 bail.

The affidavit states Smith resigned from his position as building superintendent Aug. 26, about a month before the search warrant was executed. Cass County commissioners appointed Richard Gundrum to the position on Oct. 7.

Campbell did not return messages requesting comment. Cass County Commissioners President Dave Arnold declined to comment.

A preliminary plea of not guilty was entered on behalf of Smith in Cass County Superior Court I on Oct. 3. At this same hearing, pretrial conferences were scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 18 and 9 a.m. Dec. 19.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com. Follow him: @PharosMAK