Aurora Emergency Rescue Reacts To Theft Allegations; Former EMT Remains A Fugitive
By Mike Perleberg
Craig Whitham allegedly stole $106,000 from his employer, Aurora Emergency Rescue, before disappearing on February 22, just hours after he was confronted about the missing money.
(Aurora, Ind.) – The alleged theft of money by a longtime employee has put non-profit Aurora Emergency Rescue in a difficult position financially and emotionally.
“We need to know why he did it. We just can’t understand why he would do that to people who were so close to him. It’s hard. It’s really hard for all of us,” Aurora Emergency Rescue president Ed Opp says of former EMT and treasurer Craig Whitham.
The 42-year-old Whitham, of Rising Sun, was a key member of the small department, serving with it as a volunteer and full-time member for 22 years.
Craig was last seen or heard from on Monday, February 22. That’s the same day he was confronted by Opp and Aurora Police about money missing from Aurora Emergency Rescue’s bank account.
Eagle Country 99.3 broke the story Friday when Dearborn County prosecutors and Aurora Police charged Whitham with felony Theft. Whitham allegedly stole $106,000 from Aurora Emergency Rescue dating back to January 2015 through a debit card and double-paying himself.
Before he disappeared, Whitham allegedly confessed that he stole the money to feed his gambling addiction. He claimed he gambled it all away.
While Aurora Police consider Whitham a fugitive with a warrant for his arrest now active, Rising Sun Police say their missing person case remains open. Whitham’s relatives reported him missing to Rising Sun PD on Wednesday, February 24.
Rising Sun Chief of Police David Hewitt says, however, that there has been no evidence causing investigators to suspect foul play in Whitham’s vanishing act.
“He is still missing as far as our case goes, but now that he’s charged in connection with APD’s case, he’s obviously a wanted person there. The fact that he’s now wanted on a felony muddies the water a bit, but for the time being, he’s still entered as a missing person. However, once the arrest warrant comes out and APD gets it entered into NCIC and IDACS, he will come up as wanted on a warrant should law enforcement come across him. We have exchanged info with APD but our main focus has been to try and locate him on the missing person end,” Hewitt said Saturday.
Hewitt says a few leads to locate Whitham have not panned out. Anybody who knows of Craig Whitham’s whereabouts should call Aurora Police Department at (812) 926-1101 or Rising Sun Police Department at (812) 438-3737.
Opp says that only a fraction of the stolen $106,000 will be covered by insurance. It’s a massive hit for a private, non-profit emergency service whose annual budget is about $200,000, according to Opp. Plans to build a larger headquarters and garage for AER will likely have to be put on hold.
“We want him to come back, especially for his family’s sake. At least to contact them and let them know he’s okay, but he needs to come back and face the music. Face up to what he’s done,” Opp says, adding that no AER members have heard from Whitham as of Friday.
Whitham had been placed on suspension from Aurora Emergency Rescue after the theft was first discovered. He was officially terminated by the board of AER on Friday, February 26.
Aurora Emergency Rescue answers about 1,000 calls per year, Opp said.