A Valley Center woman and her boyfriend were charged Monday with stealing thousands of dollars from a youth cheerleading squad.
Tabitha Marie Bates, 35, was the director of the privately run Valley Center Junior Hornets Cheerleading program when she was entrusted with money to purchase uniforms, shoes and other equipment that members of the squad say they never received. She and Russell D. Hartlein, 40, each were formally charged with one count of felony theft Monday morning in Sedgwick County District Court, records show.
The criminal complaints filed in their cases allege the thefts occurred between April 1 and Oct. 1.
Bates and Hartlein are due back in court for preliminary hearings on Feb. 10. They will be represented by court-appointed defense attorneys.
In an interview in November after the pair were arrested, Valley Center Police Chief Mark Hephner said the money for the squad’s supplies was kept in Bates’ personal back account. At the time, he said 66 people had been identified as possible victims and estimated the loss at $8,000 to $16,000.
Felony theft is charged when a person is accused of obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over property or services valued at between $1,000 and $25,000. A conviction carries a presumptive sentence of up to 17 months imprisonment or probation, depending on the defendant’s prior criminal history, according to Kansas sentencing guidelines.