BUCKSPORT – The man in custody for using a hammer to rob a Bangor convenience store earlier this week also is accused of embezzling funds from a local group of churches.
The case is not connected to an ongoing investigation involving discrepancies that were discovered in municipal accounts of the town of Bucksport, according to Bucksport police.
John Charpentier, 39, of Bucksport was arrested in Bangor on Wednesday in connection with the robbery at the Mt. Hope Variety Store. Bucksport police also claim that, in an unrelated crime, Charpentier took at least $9,000 from the Pine Tree United Methodist Ministries, a consortium of five churches located in Bucksport, Orland and Penobscot.
The thefts allegedly occurred during a period of almost two years while Charpentier worked for the church group through his business, The Tax Man.
Bucksport police already were investigating the alleged embezzlement when Charpentier was arrested in Bangor earlier this week, according to Sgt. Sean Geagan.
“We received a complaint on Oct. 3 from Pine Tree United Methodist Ministries that they had some concerns about money that might be missing from their accounts and some unauthorized use of that money,” Geagan said Friday.
The investigation led Geagan to Charpentier, who was working as the United Methodist Ministries’ accountant at the time.
When Bangor officers took Charpentier into custody for armed robbery, they knew Geagan was looking for him, Geagan said. He interviewed Charpentier in Bangor on Wednesday and issued him a summons charging him with Class C theft-embezzlement.
Charpentier had admitted to Bangor police that he had committed the Bangor robbery and had told them he had committed another crime involving the churches.
According to police reports, Charpentier said he had concealed his thefts, covered them up and adjusted for them. He said the churches had given him signature authority on their checks and also told police that he had kept his thefts relatively low.
Geagan declined to discuss details of the thefts, noting that the case remains under investigation.
At this point, there is no information to indicate that Charpentier was taking funds from any clients other than the United Methodist Ministries, Geagan said.
The case is not related to another investigation involving missing funds from the town of Bucksport’s municipal accounts, Geagan said Friday.
On the advice of the town’s attorney, Town Manager Roger Raymond declined to discuss any details surrounding that investigation.
“This is under investigation, and I don’t want to say anything that would impact that investigation,” Raymond said Friday. “We noted the discrepancies earlier this summer, and we followed our formal policies. We brought in our auditors to get an understanding of what it was.”
Auditors already have completed a review of the municipal books and the town is now waiting for a formal report. Once that report is available, it will be made public, Raymond said.
“We have a good understanding of the limits of our discrepancies, and we have turned it over to law enforcement for investigation,” he said.
Geagan confirmed that the department is investigating the incident, but would not discuss the details of the open investigation either.