DACULA -- A country music fan with a heart for manatees and Mexican food is accused of stealing more than $24,000 from a Dacula youth sports association.
The president of the Mountain View Athletic Association, Brian Mearkle, told Gwinnett Police that $45,000 from association funds is missing, and records show $24,017.24 was spent in Gwinnett County. Mearkle told police the suspect, Steven Brindle, was the president who preceded him at the association.
The former president allegedly transferred funds online from one or more of the seven accounts that belonged to the association, then used a debit card to make online transactions and other transactions without permission, the police report said.
The fraudulent charges to the account included tickets to a Kenny Chesney concert ($447.60), a "Save the Manatee" contribution ($35) and at least four visits to Del Rio Mexican Grill in Dacula.
The nonprofit association offers youth sports programs at Rabbit Hill Park in Dacula, including baseball, softball, lacrosse, wrestling, football and cheerleading. The association had its opening day for baseball and softball on Saturday, according to its website.
The Association's by-laws state that it exists to promote, encourage, direct and operate athletic programs for the youth of the Mountain View community, and it would strive to promote good sportsmanship.
Records of missing fees began on Aug. 6, and continued through Feb. 14, according to a police report.
Alleged fraudulent charges also included a purchase from Cinderella's Closet in Lilburn for $413.30, three car payments at $628.06 each, an $84.98 purchase at 1-800-Flowers and a Jackson EMC bill payment of $376.50.
Five ATM withdrawals of $1,000 or more were made, including a $3,000 transaction on Nov. 15.
Only three charges came in September, none in October, but 57 were in December, including 10 on Christmas Eve.
Officials with the association told police that they looked into possible missing funds after someone came forward needing money in an account for a sport.
A police report did not list any criminal charges, and called the incident an active investigation.