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SO investigating theft at treasurer’s office

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless confirmed Tuesday his office is investigating the alleged theft of money from the Lawrence County Treasurer’s Office.

Lawless said he was contacted Friday by Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham and asked to investigate an allegation that one of Burcham’s employees had stolen money within the last couple of months.

“We’re not to the bottom of it yet,” Lawless said. “This investigation is in the early stages. From what we know now it’s at least $2,000.”

The Tribune does not typically name a person suspected of a crime until formal charges are filed. Lawless said it was his understanding the employee who is suspected of the theft has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, which could take the rest of this week or even into next week to complete.

Burcham’s office was contacted for comment. An employee said the treasurer was not in the office Tuesday and she did not know when he would be in the office. Contacted by cell phone, Burcham referred all questions to the sheriff.

This is the second time in less than five years the treasurer’s office has come under scrutiny because of theft of public money. In 2008, former employee Rae-Lyn Robinson admitted to taking more than $25,000 in taxpayer’s money while employed in the treasurer’s office. She repaid the money and was spared jail time.