Local woman accused of theft, using Special Olympics to do it
MURRAY, Ky. — It was money meant for the Special Olympics but it never made it there.
Kentucky State Police say a local woman claimed she was collecting cash for the charity but stuffed her own pockets instead.
Kayla Belcher, 28, of Calloway County, faces theft charges after police said she collected more than 200 dollars from people while she worked at Rudy's Restaurant in Murray.
This upsets legitimate fund-raisers, who spend lots of time appealing to people's generosity. They said when anyone is accused of stealing from generous people, it hurts everyone who's honestly trying to raise money for good causes.
At Mugsy's Hideout in Murray, the food's the same but the servers are brand new.
"We do the drinks. We do the refills and seat them and make sure everthing's going like it's supposed to," Lion's Club member Hal Kemp said.
Volunteers with the business branch of the Murray Lion's Club are on their feet, working hard to keep customers happy.
And the tips are trickling in.
"Every penny we raise goes straight towards, we have no overhead, all of our money goes straight toward what we're raising money for," Kemp said.
Tuesday night's tips go to pay for free eye exams for area children.
"It helps people and that's the big thing. We have to be here to help each other," customer Phyllis Gutting said.
And while these diners are digging deep, members of the Lion's Club said accusations of phony fund-raising against people like Kayla Belcher make their job even more difficult.
"Everybody's vying for a little bit of money and when somebody's dishonest it makes everybody's life harder," Mike Faihst said.
"Times are tight right now. We're all fighting for the same dollars," Kemp said.
That's why they are working hard to raise every dollar they can.
So what if you want to make a donation? The person looks honest but you're just not sure it's legit?
Kentucky State Police said ask for brochures and documents, ask for a receipt or make a Web donation. That way, you eliminate the third party.
Local 6 tried to contact the owner of Ruby's Restaurant and was unsuccessful. We also tried to get a hold of the people at Special Olympics but couldn't.
Belcher is being lodged at the Marshall County Jail. The jailer there said she was already in custody for parole violations when she was charged with this crime.