Sheriff: Charges not recommended in Darmstadt investigation

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DARMSTADT, Ind. (WEHT) — Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said Wednesday deputies will not recommend charges be filed after an extensive investigation into some Darmstadt town employees. The sheriff’s office has been investigating allegations of theft and misspending centered around the town’s maintenance superintendent since June 17.

The Sheriff said investigators will meet in the near future with the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor for further review. He adds that all of the involved parties have been cooperative in the investigation, and he wants to see the Town Council address the matter internally.

“We have spoken to many people in the Darmstadt community and certainly the people who have worked for the town of Darmstadt,” Sheriff Wedding said. “Was it an abuse of their position? Yes. But that is something I think the town board needs to address to determine where they want to go today and tomorrow.”

The sheriff said after reviewing all of the evidence from alleged missing items over a 4 to 8 year period, it didn’t add up to much criminal behavior. He said he believes alleged activity of employees utilizing town equipment and funds could have been prevented with more oversight.

Some Darmstadt residents say they have evidence showing the superintendent using town owned equipment and the town’s credit card for personal expenses. Residents are also calling for Town Council President Paul Freeman to resign.

The sheriff said it really boils down to the Darmstadt Town Council addressing the matters internally.

“During our investigation, everyone that we came into contact with was very cooperative with us, forthright with us, and even acknowledged they shouldn’t of done what they did,” Sheriff Wedding said. “Nothing was large scale, I don’t think they did it with malicious intention, they just did it using poor judgement. It’s been identified and I think the town board can deal with it and we trust they have good enough leadership to correct the problem.”

In a letter sent to residents Wednesday afternoon, Councilman Ray Engler said the entire Darmstadt Town Board is broken and things won’t get better until president Paul Freeman resigns. Freeman told Eyewitness News on Friday he has no plans on stepping down.

The sheriff said it will likely take prosecutors about a week to determine if charges will be filed in the case.

A special called public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, at the Darmstadt Town Hall.

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