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Police say they're close to making an arrest for stolen Pembroke fundraising money

PEMBROKE — The investigation into more than $1,000 in funds stolen from the Pembroke Friends of Football is progressing and an arrest is imminent.

According to Pembroke Officer Jacqui Parker, who is investigating the crime, there have been no charges filed yet, but she confirmed police have a suspect who is cooperating.

Though Parker said the exact amount missing is still unknown, she said it's definitely more than $1,000, which makes the crime a felony offense.

"We're still interviewing people and getting account information from the Pembroke Friends of Football (PFOF). We're still in the process of checking and double checking all our information," she said. "Until we have a forensic auditor look it through, we're probably not going to know an exact amount."

Pembroke Police Chief Dwayne Gilman said his department was recently notified of "a large amount" of missing funds by members of the PFOF, a nonprofit organization that raises money for Pembroke's Jr. Spartans youth football and cheerleading programs, as well as the Pembroke Academy gridiron squad.

Because the organization conducts many fundraising activities, such as bake sales and car washes, and because PFOF works with several outside vendors, tracking down the precise amount missing has been problematic, he said.

"They run a checking and savings account, so it's one of those things where a lot of money comes in and a lot of money comes out, so that's been the biggest issue," Gilman said. "This type of case can be a logistical nightmare. It's almost easier if it's one large lump sum that's missing, but that's why we're leaning on the Pembroke Friends of Football. Nobody knows their system like they do."

In terms of the impact on Pembroke's youth football and cheerleading programs, PFOF President Melissa Wallace said volunteers are working on a quick recovery.

In addition to having a new board in place, Wallace said the organization has rewritten its bylaws to include additional checks and balances.

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