Former police chief indicted on charges of embezzling

by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:

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ROCKINGHAM, N.C. —

A former police chief has been indicted by a grand jury on charges he stole tens of thousands of dollars in seized drug money.

Robert Vorhees was chief of police in Rockingham until he resigned in February 2012, citing medical reasons.

Vorhees worked for the department for 21 years and was even president of the Rockingham Rotary Club.

But city officials said Tuesday after Vorhees resigned, they discovered "significant irregularities" in financial records.

The city manager said he found a checking account at a local bank where Vorhees appeared to have deposited money that had been seized by the police department at crime scenes.

City officials said Vorhees was the only person with access to the account, and that's when they asked SBI agents to open an investigation.

A North Carolina Department of Justice spokeswoman confirmed the nature of the investigation to Channel 9, saying Vorhees had been the subject of allegations of embezzlement.

She also said Richmond County District Attorney Reece Saunders had requested a special prosecutor to step in and handle the case.

The prosecutor took the case to a grand jury in Rockingham Tuesday morning, which indicted Vorhees on charges he embezzled more than $30,000.

City officials declined further comment.

Residents were disappointed to learn of the allegations.

"You're supposed to be able to trust them, and all of us put our trust in the police, and then you hear something like this," said resident William Wall.

Officials said Vorhees was reportedly in Tennessee at the time of the indictment, and was talking with SBI agents about when he would turn himself in.