Man allegedly stole thousands

BELLWOOD — A Bellwood man faces charges he stole thousands of dollars from the Sons of the American Legion.

Andrew Stowell, 60, of 411 S. Second St., allegedly confessed to Bellwood police that he had taken out a debit card on the organization’s bank account without the permission of the club’s officers and had made more than $3,000 in personal purchases.

According to charges filed in Tyrone District Court, Stowell took over as acting secretary of the club in May after the death of the former secretary. In August, the commander of the Sons of the American Legion in Bellwood contacted police about the suspected misuse of money.

Police said the club officers learned Stowell had a debit card issued in his name for the club’s bank account and also had his name printed on the checks, despite not having permission of the club or any duties related to the handling of money. Police indicated he represented himself to the bank as the commander of the organization in a letter.

Bellwood police were contacted in late August, after one of the club’s officers called Stowell to confront him about the debit card, which was deactivated. Stowell was told by the club he had 48 hours to pay back the money, and he simply said, “OK,” and hung up the phone, police said club officers explained during the investigation.

Police said Stowell made purchases that totaled $3,024.76 that included groceries, lodging and food, police noted in the charges.

Stowell spoke with police in October and allegedly admitted to taking out the card in his name without permission and adding his name to the checks. He told police he was having a hard time financially and wanted to pay the money back with his 2017 income tax refund, which has been held up by the IRS.

Stowell was arraigned Monday afternoon on felony theft and related charges and released on a unsecured $25,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is slated for Tuesday at Central Court.