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Theft from union charged

A former employee at the county road shop is accused of stealing more than $7,500 from the Island County Public Works Union’s funds while he was secretary and treasurer in 2005 and 2006, according to court documents.

Prosecutor charged Craig J. Gilbert in Island County Superior Court Jan. 14 with two counts of theft in the first degree and two counts of theft in the second degree.

Gilbert’s arraignment hearing scheduled for Feb. 11 was set over one week. He’s been living in Utah, court documents state. The News-Times was unable to contact him.

Mike Hawley, a lieutenant with the Island County Sheriff’s Office, wrote that the president of the union notified law enforcement late last year that Gilbert had admitted taking money from the account, but kept making excuses for not giving it back.

Hawley interviewed Gilbert in December. Gilbert admitted to writing more than $3,500 in checks to himself from the union bank account. Also, he admitted cashing out the union’s $4,000 certificate of deposit and using it to prevent a foreclosure on his house, the report indicates.

“Gilbert said that he took the money because (he) had been going through a divorce,” Hawley wrote.

The following week, Craig contacted Hawley and told him that his wife had thrown him out his home after finding out about the situation. He said he went to Deception Pass bridge and contemplated jumping off, Hawley wrote.

Gilbert was fired after he quit coming to work, said Hank Hilberdink, the Oak Harbor shop foreman for Island County Public Works.

If convicted, Gilbert faces between four months and a year in jail under the standard sentencing range.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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