A volunteer with Gurnee Youth Baseball has been charged with stealing at least $10,000 from the organization, police said.
Donald Schaefer, 52, was taken into custody Monday morning at his home in 17000 block of West Windslow Drive in unincorporated Lake County. Authorities said he was nabbed on an arrest warrant first issued Oct. 30.
Gurnee police Cmdr. Willie Meyer said the warrant, which carries a $50,000 bond, states Schaefer is accused of committing "a series of acts" to steal $10,000 to $100,000 from Gurnee Youth Baseball in his capacity as a volunteer treasurer for the organization. Additional information on the accusations was not immediately available.
In a letter to Gurnee Youth Baseball members and supporters provided to the Daily Herald, organization board President Jolene Nowry said Schaefer took $80,626 through checks and withdrawals made payable to him from a savings account.
Police went to Schaefer's home just outside the village to take him into custody Monday. Schaefer was processed at Gurnee police headquarters about 6:30 a.m., authorities said.
"He was seized at his home warming up his car, getting ready to go to work," Meyer said.
Meyer said Gurnee police had been in contact with Schaefer since the arrest warrant was issued in October, and authorities had offered him a chance to turn himself in at the police station on O'Plaine Road.
"We tried to work with him," Meyer said.
Schaefer was remanded to the Lake County jail after a bond hearing Monday, police said.
Nowry said the Gurnee Youth Baseball board has taken corrective action to ensure that a single volunteer will never again have control over association funds.
"I am satisfied that there are proper safeguards and procedures in place to see that this will never occur again," she said. "Our organization's ability to continue to operate is, and has been, due to all the individuals and families who continue to support our association."
Youth league games are played at American Legion Post 771's fields in the village near routes 21 and 132. Gurnee Youth Baseball's mission statement, in part, says its objective is to "implant firmly in the children of the community the ideals of good sportsmanship, honesty, loyalty, courage and respect for authority, so they may be well adjusted, stronger and happier children and will grow to be good, decent healthy and trustworthy citizens."