June 30, 2017

 **UPDATE #1**

 Thanks to an anonymous Crime Stoppers tipster, the former Lehigh Acres man accused of stealing more than $60,000 from the Fraternal Order of Eagles is now behind bars.

Keith Edwards was arrested this morning in Masontown, Pennsylvania and charged with two warrants out of Lee County for grand theft and violating terms of his probation stemming from a DUI arrest.  Edwards was taken into custody without incident and will be extradited back to Lee County in the near future.

“Even though Mr. Edwards took off right after the issue of the missing funds came to light, word got around and now it’s time for him to explain his side of the story to a judge,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator.  “You can run from criminal allegations, but you can’t hide forever.”

It is unknown at this point how soon Edwards will be brought back to Lee County to face his charges. 

 

June 9, 2017

Trustee accused of stealing from Lehigh charity

Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help tracking down a man accused of stealing more than $60,000 from a Lehigh Acres based non-profit organization.

Officials with the Lehigh chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles stated that in late November 2016, they noticed that $28,373 allocated for a Queen of Hearts game was gone.  When they asked Board Trustee Keith Edwards (DOB 9/9/59) about the missing money, he stated that it was used to pay bills.  Edwards was responsible for all monies coming in and out of the club’s account.  His response raised question among club members, who immediately launched a thorough financial audit from August 2016 through November 2017.  During that audit, they found a total of $61,403 in receipts, money orders and bank statements that were unaccounted for in the club’s coffers.  They also discovered that Edwards had written several checks on the club’s account, payable to himself and cashed through his personal bank account.  Shortly after the discovery was made, Edwards left the club and hasn’t been seen or heard from by his former members.  He is now the sole person of interest in the theft/fraud investigation.

Edwards has one prior arrest in Lee County for DUI, and has an active warrant for his arrest for violating probation in relation to that drunk driving charge.  He was last known to be living in Lehigh, but his current whereabouts are unknown.  Anyone with information on the where Edwards is currently residing is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).  All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.  Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or by submitting a tip on the P3Tips mobile app.

Note:  Two photos of Edwards are attached to this release.

TR/16-550799