Church secretary charged with stealing from church

Church secretary charged with stealing from church
By: CJ Cassidy
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - We're well into the season of giving, so small wonder leaders of one Heartland church want to know why one of their members would take from them!
The Secretary of Highland Drive Church of Christ in Poplar Bluff now faces charges for stealing more than $25,000.
Police say it's been going on for more than six years, and no one noticed until recently.
Investigators point out that's because 47-year-old Kim Puckett worked as a book-keeper and secretary at the church, so she had sole access to all the church accounts, checks and credit cards.
Investigators say volunteers who took over Puckett's position after she left to take up another position, noticed something wrong.
"The first four months of 2006 there was a little over $ 30,000 worth of the church's funds that she's already agreed she took. It's not going to surprise us if the funds that were taken don't reach a quarter of a million dollars," Assistant Police Chief Gary Pride says.
Pride adds that Puckett says she wanted to help her family pay some bills they were struggling to pay, and had intended on paying the church back.
Church leaders issued a statement that states "Mrs Puckett is a fellow Christian. We reach out to her as instructed by God in Galatians 6:1. If a man is overtaken in any trespass you who are spirituals, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
We are deeply saddened and disappointed.
They desire that she repent and seek the Lord's forgiveness. We will continue to pray for Mrs. Puckett and her family."
Other members of the congregation say they feel betrayed.
Puckett is not in jail but were not able to speak with her today.