Authorities in southeast Missouri say they’re looking for a woman who used to handle finances for a dog rescue after the nonprofit learned it was missing tens of thousands of dollars from its bank account.
The woman, identified by the Cape Girardeau Police Department as Elizabeth J. Hann, was charged with two felony counts of stealing this week, according to online court records.
A warrant has been issued for her arrest.
The dog rescue Hann worked for, Mac’s Mission, says on its website that it specializes in taking care of dogs with disabilities and it places a special emphasis on pit bulls. The nonprofit, licensed with the state of Missouri, is based in Jackson.
Hann used to be the nonprofit’s treasurer, according to a statement it posted on its Facebook page to its 500,000-plus followers Tuesday night.
“We reported our concerns to law enforcement immediately last October, and have fully cooperated during the investigation,” Mac’s Mission wrote in a statement. “During this difficult time and through the prosecution of this matter, Mac’s Mission will continue to not comment publicly. Please know that we have taken measures to ensure that this cannot occur again. We remain pitbull strong.”
Court records obtained by the Southeast Missourian say Hann, 40, allegedly made “89 unauthorized withdrawals, totaling approximately $121,000” from the nonprofit’s bank account. Police say she allegedly embezzled more than $120,000 between November 2016 and September 2017.
It’s unclear what the money was used for, though during that time, Hann’s co-workers noticed she regularly visited two casinos — the Isle of Capri Casino in Cape Girardaeu and the Hollywood Casino in St. Charles, the Southeast Missourian reported from the court records.
Rochelle Steffen, the founder and director of Mac’s Mission, told KFVS in an interview they trusted Hann and “considered her family.”
“She was always there, and it’s very traumatic for all of us, even though we’ve had 10 months to absorb it and process it, it’s still hard,” Steffen told KFVS.
Despite the circumstances, Steffen said the rescue will persevere, according to a statement she sent The Kansas City Star.
“We are pitbull strong for the ones who need us most and this traumatic betrayal will not stop us,” Steffen said. “We are stronger now as a core group and it will only continue to help the dogs who will die without us.”
As for Hann, her bail amount has been set at $50,000, cash only, online court records indicate, though she is not in police custody.
Police posted a photo of Hann on Facebook along with a statement seeking the public’s help.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cape Girardeau Police Department at 573-335-6621, the anonymous tip line at 573-339-6313, text “CAPEPD” to 847411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.