A former manager at Kings SPCA was arrested Friday on suspicion of embezzlement and grand theft as the shelter awaits closure because of a lack of funds.
The arrest of Darlene Laboc, 58, was reported by the Kings County Sheriff’s Office, and the shelter’s board of directors confirmed it in a Facebook post on Friday.
The shelter in early May announced that it already had stopped accepting any new animals and would close at the end of the month due to lack of funds.
Shortly before Laboc was terminated in April by the shelter, the Sheriff’s Office had begun to investigate a possible embezzlement case.
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The board of directors told investigators that they believed Laboc had been making unauthorized purchases for the past three years. Store receipts and bank statements were turned over to detectives, who said they determined that $3,741.15 allegedly had been spent by Laboc.
Detectives went to Laboc’s home Friday and took her into custody. Laboc admitted to making some purchases with a shelter debit card that she said she was authorized to use, according to the Sheriff’s Office. She was booked at the Kings County Jail, with bail set at $20,000.
Shelter operating costs are about $18,000 per month. Donations, grants and revenue from adoption placements failed to provide the money needed to keep the shelter open, board president Kari Martin-Higgins told The Bee earlier this month.