Court Cases I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

[UPDATE] Leon Co. Commission Candidate Arrested

By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 10.19.2011 by Julie Montanaro

Court records show that Bessie Beard entered a no contest plea today to one charge of grand theft.

A sentencing date is set for December 6th.

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UPDATED 6.28.2011 6:40pm by Julie Montanaro

"I was very shocked and surprised to hear this news," Akin Akinyemi said. "I do not know Ms. Beard and I do not know her circumstances. I do not take pleasure in other people's demise."

Akin Akinyemi, the incumbent in the Leon County Commission at large seat, says he does not intend to make Beard's arrest an issue in his campaign.

"People are going to spin things the way they want. They're going to say things. Again, I'm going to focus on my record and what I stand for and what I've done," Akinyemi said.

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UPDATED 6.28.2011 by Julie Montanaro

Arrest papers indicate that Bessie Beard is accused of stealing money from cash and reserve drawers at the U.S. Post Office where she works.

Arrest papers say a pinhole camera caught her on surveillance video twice, folding money and placing it inside her shirt. It says the amount of money taken is unclear.

When questioned, arrest papers say, Beard admitted to taking money on numerous occassions but added it was for lunch or cab fare and she always paid it back.

Beard admitted to "borrowing" more than 360 dollars, arrest papers say.

An inspector with the US Postal Service first confronted Beard about the missing money and stock shortages at Leon Station. According to arrest papers, Beard broke down in tears several times and told the inspector "her family had been going through some tough times."

Beard had recently filed to run against incumbent at large Leon County Commissioner Akin Akinyemi.

Akinyemi says he does not know the all the circumstances of Beard's arrest and he can only wish her well. He says he intends to run on his record, and not make this an issue in the campaign.

Beard has been ordered to live with her daughter while she is out on bond. We spoke with the daughter today, but she did not have any comment about her mother's arrest.

A more thorough review of Beard's record shows that bad check charges against her back in 1993 were dropped. Court records show Beard plead no contest to a 2001 larceny charge and successfully completed one year on probation.
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Tallahassee, FL - A woman looking to run for a seat on the Leon County Commission was arrested.

52-year-old Bessie Beard was arrested on grand theft charges this past Thursday...June 23.

Beard just filed last week to run for Leon County Commission, At-Large, Group 1 seat.

That seat is currently filled by Akin Akinyemi.

Beard was released Friday on 2500 dollar bond.

Records show Beard has arrests from 1993 to 2001...

Those charges included larceny/petty theft, assault, and passing bad checks.


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