Woman charged with stealing vouchers from AIO Food Pantry
Rockland — A woman has been charged with forging vouchers from the Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry.
Colleen Hupper, 49, of Rockland was arrested Oct. 7 for allegedly breaking into the AIO Food Pantry on Thomaston Street and forging utility vouchers for propane and other goods or services from Maritime Energy and CMP, worth a total of almost $300. She has been charged with two counts of theft and three counts of forgery, all misdemeanors.
Hupper had previously worked as a volunteer at the food pantry, which is how she learned the system of creating, submitting and entering records for vouchers, according to documents filed in Knox County Unified Court. AIO provides food and emergency assistance to cover utility and rent costs for local families in need.
Court documents showed that CMP had provided goods or services amounting to $150 in exchange for the vouchers, while Maritime Energy had delivered 75 gallons of propane worth $138.68. A third voucher had apparently not yet been submitted.
According to court documents, a witness at AIO contacted Rockland Police Detective Joel Neal Sept. 12 to report that three vouchers had been stolen. The vouchers had been entered into the pantry’s records, showing that whoever submitted them had knowledge of AIO procedures, but the name of the supervisor who signs off on all vouchers had been misspelled, among other irregularities. The vouchers were attributed to different people, one of whom had never been a client at AIO, but two of them showed the same CMP account number.
In an interview with a witness, Neal learned that around the time the vouchers were dated, a window-mounted air conditioner at AIO had been found damaged with screws missing, suggesting that whoever forged the vouchers had broken into the food pantry after hours to write them. In the course of the investigation, another witness told police Hupper had admitted to writing the vouchers.
Based on the information, Neal determined that Hupper had likely forged the vouchers and requested a warrant for her arrest. She was arrested Oct. 7 and released on $2,000 unsecured bail.
Dan Otis Smith joined The Courier-Gazette in 2016. He covers the towns of Thomaston, St. George, Cushing, and the Knox County Commission.
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