RCMP says its working on West Kelowna school PAC investigation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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RCMP says its working on West Kelowna school PAC investigation

January 22, 2020 - 4:00 PM

Concerns that there has been no movement in the investigation into a substantial West Kelowna Parent Advisory Council theft have not gone unnoticed, but the RCMP says it's working toward completion of the file.

"Every investigation is unique in the challenges it may present, and the time required to complete them is based on many factors, including: the nature and complexity of the allegations, the number of individuals involved (suspects and witnesses), the number of witnesses that need to be interviewed as well as their availability and location, the characteristics of the evidence trail," Const. Solana Pare wrote in an emailed statement, in response to questions about the Glenrosa PAC theft investigation.

"Generally, only in the event that an investigation results in the laying of criminal charges, would the RCMP confirm its investigation, the nature of any charges laid and the identity of the individual(s) involved. Should the investigation not generate sufficient evidence to support the laying of criminal charges, the RCMP would conclude its file and in most cases advise the complainant privately of this result."

Pare can confirm that on Aug. 26, 2018 the West Kelowna RCMP began an investigation related to a report of a theft from a business account associated to a committee of an elementary school in West Kelowna.

"The RCMP is not in a position to comment further on this specific matter at this time but can comment on investigations generally," Pare wrote.

"In the course of responding to complaints, RCMP investigators routinely speak with persons to help determine substance of allegations. If it is determined that an investigation is warranted, one would be initiated. In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, the evidence obtained, and the privacy of those involved, the RCMP generally would not comment during the course of an investigation. In some circumstances, information might be provided to the public, for example in an effort to seek further information from the public."

Glenrosa Elementary PAC vice president Ashlee Cameron said earlier this week that she recently learned the file had changed hands a number of times but the case is now “open and moving forward.”

She had been banging on doors for six months to find out what’s happening and if and when the RCMP would move forward with an investigation.

It’s a step in the right direction in a situation that set the West Kelowna school’s fundraising body back for some time.

While Cameron said there’s no way to know exactly how much money went missing — all of their files were sent off to the gaming commission and the RCMP when the theft was made known — it was once pegged in the area of $20,000.

They’ve not seen a dime of that money returned and the first school year after it happened, budgets were tight.

“Teachers wish lists weren’t met and parents paid more for field trips,” she said. “But with some lovely help from quite a few of our parents and some fundraisers… it took four months to get into good standing. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears for a lot of parents, but no kids went without this year.”

The parents' advisory council announced the theft in September 2018, with members alleging at the time that signatures were forged and bank accounts were drained of the proceeds from years of fundraising.

The funds are used for upgrading playgrounds, new equipment, field trips, hot lunches etc.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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