DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
GRANITE SHOALS — The Granite Shoals city secretary faces prison time after investigators linked her with missing funds from the municipal court.
Burnet County authorities arrested Ronda Reichle, 55, on March 5 and charged her with theft of property $1,500<$20,000 by a public servant, a third-degree felony. She was booked into the Burnet County Jail and released later the same day after posting a $7,500 bond.
Burnet County Precinct 4 Constable Chris Jett began investigating possible missing money from the City of Granite Shoals Municipal Court on Feb. 20. According to an arrest warrant affidavit prepared by Jett and signed by Burnet County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Calvin Boyd, the investigator believes the city secretary took the funds between Jan. 19 to Feb. 5.
But according to the affidavit, the woman might have been doing it as far back as December 2011.
Officials alerted the constable that $2,203 was missing from the municipal court coffers, according to the affidavit.
Jett verified the money was missing. He then obtained a list of people who had keys to the court office that included the city secretary. During his investigation, Jett noted the city secretary’s alarm code showed up several times during the dates in question, including weekends and after hours, the affidavit stated.
The constable also turned to city surveillance video during his investigation.
“I observed, on more than four occasions, the defendant on video entering the municipal court office, retrieving a hidden cashbox key, accessing the area of the office where the cashbox is located, returning the key to its hiding place, leaving the office and reactivating the alarm,” Jett stated in the affidavit.
During a March 4 interview by the constable, “the defendant confessed to the theft when confronted with the evidence against her. She admitted to having taken money from the cashbox over a period of time dating back to December 2011,” according to the affidavit.
The woman told Jett she would replace the funds in the past before it was counted each month but couldn’t do it this time, the document stated.
According to the affidavit, the woman told Jett she would grab a $100 bill or a handful of $20 bills, but the constable noted more than $2,000 was missing from the cashbox for the period in question.
If convicted, the woman faces up to 10 years in prison.