Former Burdette Park campground manager accused of stealing thousands in rental fees

EVANSVILLE – A former Burdette Park campground manager and his wife have been arrested and accused of stealing more than $40,000 in campground rentals.

Scott Allen Thompson, 58, and his wife, 68-year-old Catherine Ann Thompson, are preliminarily charged with theft as a Level 6 felony, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s office announced in a news release Saturday.

The couple was apparently taken into custody on Monday, when they turned themselves in at the Vanderburgh County jail after investigators issued a warrant for their arrest. They appeared in circuit court the next day, posted $500 bonds, and were released. Their next court date is scheduled for June 9.

The sheriff’s office and Indiana State Board of Accounts announced an investigation into Burdette Park’s finances last year after officials discovered irregularities “relating to the accounting of campground receipts.”

More: County: Burdette Park investigation triggered by irregularities in campground receipts

According to a sheriff’s office news release announcing the Thompsons’ arrests, investigators first became aware of a problem in December 2021, when cash payments for rentals reportedly weren’t being deposited.

Burdette Park Director Jerry Grannan contacted the Vanderburgh County prosecutor and sheriff’s offices, which then roped in the SBOA.

According to the release, the board of accounts “issued their forensic report” on April 24, even though it’s not listed on their website. They reportedly found that only $965.00 out of $21,941.97 collected for various rentals had actually been deposited, the release states. In the course of the investigation, they reportedly discovered an additional $22,000 in missing funds.

Thompson and his wife lived on the park’s grounds. Although Scott Thompson was the manager, Catherine “took an active role in the management of the campground, including handling the intake and deposit of rental fees,” the release states.

“All of the missing money was cash collected by the Thompsons for campground rentals. Both Thompsons declined to speak with sheriff’s detectives. Scott Thompson did mention paying back the funds when first questioned by Burdette officials.”

The Thompsons’ arrest is just the latest controversy stemming from area parks.

Former Evansville Parks and Recreation Director Brian Holtz faces 12 felony counts, including fraud, official misconduct, forgery and counterfeiting charges after an Evansville Police Department investigation uncovered “out of the ordinary” invoices.

Holtz oversaw city parks but not Burdette, which is handled by the county. He resigned in June 2021 and has denied any wrongdoing. His jury trial is set for Aug. 14 in Vanderburgh Superior Court.

This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Former Burdette Park campground manager accused of felony theft

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