PATASKALA, Ohio (WCMH) – A high school baseball coach has been charged with theft after allegedly stealing nearly $6,000 from the team after a fundraiser.
Greg Turchan, coach of the Licking Heights baseball team, is accused of depositing checks and money transfers into his personal bank account, according to an incident report filed with Pataskala police.
On Dec. 5, officers spoke with the treasurer for Licking Heights schools after receiving a complaint of a possible theft from within the baseball program. The complaint said that on May 1 Turchan had a fundraiser that the school later said it did not authorize.
Concerns were raised by a parent who wanted to know where the money went after the event. The parent in the complaint helped set up the fundraiser and collected checks other parents made out to Licking Heights baseball.
The parent reported that she gave Turchan six checks and other electronic transfers that totaled approximately $5,900. Someone then allegedly added Turchan’s name to the checks and they were deposited into an account unaffiliated with the school.
On Dec. 12, Turchan was voluntarily interviewed at the Pataskala police station, where he claimed he did not know anything about the incident but that he thought the money was a gift as a thank you from the team. When Officer Gary Smith produced text messages between Turchan and the parent discussing the fundraiser, Turchan admitted that he was having financial difficulties and “saw an opportunity to help himself” by stealing the money.
Turchan wrote an official statement, stating that he received the checks at Licking Heights Middle School and expressed remorse for taking the money. He was charged with one count of theft, a fifth-degree felony, and was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.
The Licking Heights Athletic Department and the Licking Heights Local Schools Superintendent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.