A Spokane Police Department dispatch supervisor was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree theft.
A detective said in an affidavit that Kathleen O’Brien, a 12-year veteran of the radio room, stole $30,000 from an elderly Spokane Valley woman she had befriended.
The 49-year-old mother of two was released on personal recognizance shortly after her arrest on the felony charge.
O’Brien declined to comment on the case when reached at her home Tuesday afternoon. “I haven’t even talked to my attorney yet,” she said.
Police administrators placed her on paid leave Tuesday pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Capt. Chuck Bown said in a press release.
The crime occurred last summer, according to court records.
O’Brien, who has power of attorney for the elderly woman, made two withdrawals from the victim’s Seafirst bank account, Detective Jan Pogachar wrote in an affidavit.
The first, for $10,000, was made in June. The second, for $20,000, was made in August.
The elderly woman knew O’Brien was withdrawing the money but thought her friend was investing it for her, the affidavit states. The dispatch supervisor told the victim she was going to invest the money in her son’s business, and pay it back later, the affidavit states.
But court records indicate that O’Brien’s son, David Cohen, had declared personal and business bankruptcy before his mother requested the loans from the victim.
O’Brien then deposited the money into her own accounts at the Spokane Law Enforcement Credit Union, the affidavit states. She may have used $5,000 of the money to pay her other son’s medical bills, the court records state.
The theft came to light when a social worker discovered the victim didn’t have enough money to pay an increase in her subsidized rent and launched an investigation, Pogachar said.
The elderly woman told social worker Molly Austin that she “felt foolish” when she learned she wouldn’t be getting her money back, court records state.
But she also said “she still believes the defendant is her friend and can be trusted,” the affidavit states.