Recent Arrests I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

[UPDATE] City of Tallahassee Employee Sentenced

By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 3.1.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A City of Tallahassee employee will have to forfeit part of her pension as part of a plea deal struck today.

Doris Bonga entered a no contest plea to theft and fraud charges. She'll spend two weeks in jail and two and a half years on probation.

Bonga worked for the city's revenue department and prosecutors say there was video surveillance video that actually showed Bonga stealing money from the city vault.

Bonga was ordered to pay more than 99-hundred dollars in restitution, which will be taken from her city pension.

A City of Tallahassee Spokesman says Bonga worked with the city for 11 years. She resigned November 29, 2010.
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[UPDATE] 1-10 Noon

A Tallahassee City worker is arrested for stealing money from her employer, and the theft was caught on camera.

Doris Bonga worked for the City of Tallahassee Department of Revenue and officials say she was caught on tape stealing cash. A probable cause report says she had been taking money from at least as far back as September of last year.

53-year-old Bonga was arrested on Friday after her supervisors called the Tallahassee Police Department to report she has stolen money from the City of Tallahassee Department of Revenue.
Police say Bonga was recorded on video surveillance on several occasions taking a handful of coins from money bags in her company's "vault room" at the Renaissance Center.

On one occasion, a fellow employee walked by and caught Bonga in the act and told Director Michael Meeks at which point he confronted Bonga.

Meeks says Bonga told him she was trying to save up for a trip to Africa and was "hurting for money".

Bonga was put on immediate suspension pending the investigation. She is being charged on 13 counts of petit theft less than 100 dollars. One count of petit theft for more than 100 dollars, and organized scheme to defraud, a total of 15 felonies.

Authorities say Bonga has since been released on bond of more than 6-thousand dollars.

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TPD issues probable cause for the arrest of Doris Bonga. Bonga was a city employee in the Revenue Department. City employee Doris Bonga stole money out of coin bags and was caught on video. Bonga stole a mix of coins and they have not been recovered. When she exchanged coins for cash, the drawers she took cash from still balanced out. The only exact amount stolen is from 11/30/10 when she was caught. At that time, she retried the money from her office and it was counted.

A warrant was obtained late Friday and she is scheduled to turn herself in today (1/10).

The complete Summary of Offenses and Probable Causes affidavit is attached. Stay with WCTV for details on this story.

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PROBABLE CAUSE
TPD Case #: 10-37590
TO: First Appearance Magistrate

DEFENDANT: Bonga, Doris

CHARGES: Organized Scheme to Defraud 817.034 (4)(a)3
Petit Theft over $100 812.014 (2)(e)
Petit Theft under $100 812.014 (3)(a) 13 counts

SUMMARY OF OFFENSES AND PROBABLE CAUSE AFFIDAVIT:
On 11/30/2010 Jim Cooke contacted the Tallahassee Police Department to report an internal theft at the City of Tallahassee Dept. of Revenue. Jim Cooke advised that an employee was suspended from duty after stealing an unknown amount of money. Cooke advised that the Division Director Michael Meeks would provide incident details.

On 11/30/2010 I responded to the Renaissance Center and made contact with Michael Meeks. Meeks advised that employee Doris Bonga stole money out of the coin bags and was caught on video. Meeks and witness Kimberly Connell counted out the money stolen in a coin counter. The total amount stolen was 159.86.

Meeks advised that the incident was caught on video surveillance. He showed me the video as he explained to me what happened. On 11/29/2010 at approximately 1:22 pm, Doris Bonga walked into the “vault” room that contains two safes. One safe contains money bags filled with coins. Bonga appeared to be looking out the door while she was in the room to see if anyone is watching. At 1:24 pm she got a key and a bank bag and walked over to a locked box that contained large white moneybags filled with coins. She took handfuls of coins out of the large white bags and placed them in her bank bag. At 1:25 pm she put the key back and walked into the counting room. At 1:26 pm she opened a desk drawer, in the counting room, and placed the moneybag inside. She then walked around the counting office and appeared to look for something to put the bank bag in. Bonga then walked out of the counting room and returned with a large manila envelope. At 1:27 pm a fellow employee, Kim Connell, walked by and saw Bonga in the counting room. Bonga made eye contact with her and appeared startled. After Connell passed by, Bonga left the room with the bank bag in the manila envelope.

Meeks advised that Connell thought something was strange about her encounter so she watched the surveillance video. After seeing the theft, she approached Meeks and asked to speak with him in private. Meeks advised that Connell was crying when she met with him and explained that she had a video of her boss committing a theft. Meeks watched the video and immediately called his supervisor Jim Cooke.

Cooke and Meeks called Bonga into Meeks’ office and asked her about the theft. At first Bonga denied what happened. Meeks then pulled the video up on his computer and began to play it. Bonga asked him to stop the video because it was embarrassing. She advised Meeks that she was trying to take a trip to Africa and was “hurting for money”. Meeks asked her to go get the money from wherever she put it. Bonga retrieved the money from her office and brought it to Meeks.

Meeks advised Bonga that she was on immediate suspension pending the investigation. He terminated all of her security clearance that evening.

When I met with Meeks, as the investigator in the case, he showed me the video of the theft. It appeared to me that it was possibly not the first time Bonga had committed a theft of coins in the manner in which she did. I explained to Meeks that she had probably done the act before and recommended that he watch video as far back as he had record.

A week later Meeks contacted me and advised after further investigation and video review, he determined that Bonga has been stealing money in the same was almost once a week back to September 9, 2010, which is as long as they still have video for. He further explained that Bonga was even exchanging the coins she stole for cash. Meeks stated that Bonga would go into the counting room, open the portable safe, and put coins into a counted drawer of money. She would then take the exact amount out in cash, so the drawer always had the right amount of money. Meeks provided me the video footage of all the thefts that occurred. The thefts occurred in almost the exact same fashion as the one that was originally reported from 11/29/2010. The remaining thefts Meeks discovered was as follows:

On 09/09/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 09:45am and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 09:59 am.

On 09/10/2010 Bonga exchanges coins for cash in the counting room.

On 09/14/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 11:54 am and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 11:57 am.

On 09/15/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 1:20 pm and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 1:39 pm.

On 09/16/10 at 1:21pm Bonga exchanges coins for cash.

On 09/22/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 12:50 pm and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 1:38 pm.

On 09/23/2010 at 1:27 pm Bonga exchanged coins for cash.

On 10/05/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 12:14 pm and stole coins from the locked box. She then stole more coins at 1:22 pm. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 2:31pm.

On 10/06/10, 10/07/10, and 10/11/10 Bonga exchanged coins for cash.

On 10/12/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 1:22pm and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 1:31pm.

On 10/15/10, 10/19/10, and 10/21/10 Bonga exchanged coins for cash.

On 10/22/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 3:24 pm and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 3:26 pm, concealing the money in her jacket.

On 10/25/10 she exchanged coins for cash.

On 10/27/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 3:28 pm and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 4:04 pm.
On 10/29/10 Bonga exchanges coins for cash.

On 10/29/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 12:55pm and stole coins from the locked box. She then carried them out of the counting room.

On 11/15/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 1:07 pm and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 1:13 pm.

On 11/16/10 Bonga exchanged coins for cash.

On 11/17/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 2:53 pm and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 03:05 pm.

On 11/18/10 and 11/19/10 Bonga exchanged coins for cash.

On 11/19/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 3:25 pm and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 3:33 pm.

On 11/23/10 she exchanged coins for cash.

On 11/23/10 Bonga went into the vault room at 4:02 pm and stole coins from the locked box. She hid them in the counting room and then returned to retrieve them at 04:06 pm.

On 11/23/10 and 11/24/10 Bonga exchanged coins for cash.

On the above listed thefts there is no way to know the exact amount taken. Bonga stole a mix of coins and they have not been recovered. When she exchanged coins for cash, the drawers she took cash from still balanced out. The only exact amount stolen is from 11/30/10 when she was caught. At that time she retried the money from her office and it was counted.


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