In Rockingham on Tuesday, the city’s former police chief Robert Voorhees was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly embezzling money from a police bank account, city officials confirmed.
Voorhees resigned from his job as chief of police in February 2012, to “further challenge myself professionally and continue to grow my career,” his letter of resignation said. He had worked for the department for 21 years, and served as chief for about 10 years.
The criminal case was investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation, and a special prosecutor, who appeared before a Richmond County grand jury on Tuesday morning, according to city officials. The grand jury issued a true bill of indictment charging Voorhees with one count of embezzlement of $33,000.
The Daily Journal contacted Voorhees for a comment via email on Tuesday evening and he chose not to make a statement until he’s spoken with his attorneys.
According to WSOC-TV 9 out of Charlotte, Voorhees was reportedly in Tennessee at the time of the indictment, and was talking with SBI agents about when he would turn himself in.
In a statement he prepared on Tuesday, City Manager Monty Crump said, “Shortly after former Police Chief Voorhees resigned, I became aware of an account used to handle seized funds of which he was the sole custodian. After conducting a cursory review of that account, I discovered what I believed to be significant irregularities and immediately contacted the District Attorney.”
District Attorney Reece Saunders then requested the SBI begin an investigation of Voorhees and the account, Crump said.
“The SBI conducted an investigation with the full cooperation of the City of Rockingham,” the city manager said.
Asked about more details involving the seized money account, Crump said he could not comment further pending judicial action.
Voorhees turned in his letter of resignation on Feb. 7.
“I strongly appreciate the strong support I received in the past from City staff and Mayor (Gene) McLaurin and current and past City Council members,” Voorhees said in the letter. “But most importantly I appreciate and will miss the citizens of Rockingham that I have served. I have many strong ties to our community which I cherish for a lifetime and have made many friends and professional relationships that any person would be lucky to have and I am grateful for the opportunity to have these ties.”
In the letter, Voorhees wrote that he believed the decision was in his and his family’s best interest, and that he planned to continue a personal and professional relationship with the city in the future.
At the time of his resignation, city leaders and officials wished Voorhees well in his new ventures.
“He did a good job,” Crump said on the heels of Voorhees’ resignation. “I’ve enjoyed working with him and I wish him all the best,” he said then.
Crump, who has been city manager for 24 years, was the man to hire Voorhees for the department more than 20 years ago, and it was Crump who appointed Voorhees police chief. He acknowledged that they worked closely together over the years.
Asked Tuesday night how he felt when he discovered the irregularities in the account that led to the indictment, Crump said, “I just did my job. ” He said his job required him to report his findings “without having any personal feelings about it.” Doing that was not easy, he said.
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at email@example.com.