Thousands of dollars is missing from a Depew youth hockey club, officials of the club say.
In addition, officials of the Depew Saints Hockey Club say they believe the same person responsible for the thefts has been soliciting money on behalf of the organization without its knowledge.
Law enforcement authorities are investigating a former officer of the club, but police agencies were tight-lipped or unavailable to comment.
The missing or misused money could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
No one has been charged.
Depew police acknowledged the investigation is under way but otherwise said little.
“This investigation is in its infancy, and I’m not authorized to release anything about it,” said Lt. William J. Curr. “Information is still being gathered. The totality of it is still not understood.”
“We wanted to be upfront about it,” said Dave Borkowski, president of the hockey club, which serves about 500 youngsters and is coming up on its 45th anniversary. “It has absolutely nothing to do with our organization. This person is not involved in any way with our organization. Once we found out what was going on, we took it to the police.”
Borkowski said he was “sickened” and “shocked” by the situation.
Borkowski, who has headed the club for two years, said he learned of a potential problem when a local business recently approached the club to verify a donation it was making to the organization.
“We went to the police,” he said. “We have never received a donation. We never, ever solicit donations. … So we went to the Village of Depew police and are fully cooperating. This was just a case of doing the right thing. That’s what we had to do. We weren’t happy that this happened. We’re horrified.”
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III would not comment on the investigation.
“The District Attorney’s Office can neither confirm nor deny the existence, nor non-existence, of a criminal investigation until someone is formally charged,” Sedita said Tuesday.
Depew Mayor Steven P. Hoffman, who is a former president of the Saints Hockey Club, declined to comment Tuesday, saying he could not speak because the case could involve a “potential personnel matter” within the village Police Department.
He declined to elaborate.