A former member of the Ponder Band Booster Club is under investigation after $20,000 meant for the band vanished.
The theft wiped out the club’s accounts and put them in debt. They've had to pull together to raise money to cover those outstanding charges and even canceled a scheduled band trip.
The long-anticipated performance trip with the Ponder High School band had to be canceled now that the club is nearly $11,000 in the red.
"It's one thing for a theft or some kind of offense to happen to you, but it's a totally different thing for it to happen to your child. It's a whole other level of feeling helpless,” parent Jack Cely said.
Booster parents discovered the theft in mid-January. Ponder Police estimate someone embezzled $20,000 over the last 12 to 18 months. Police have identified a person of interest and are combing through subpoenaed bank records to build a case before making an arrest.
“I'm mad and also at the same time I guess a little sad because whoever did this, their motivation had to be something fairly extreme to do this because I doubt it's easy to steal something from kids,” band member Dawson Fogle said.
The booster club has started new fundraisers and a GoFundMe page to try and recoup its losses.
Parents have also re-organized, elected new officers and established stricter procedures to access booster club money. The person of interest in the case is no long part of the club.
GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/27n88944