Former county employee charged with theft, official misconduct

Robert Blackford/Editor

Charges of theft and official misconduct were filed in Mercer County Circuit Court April 15 against former county employee Karol J. Tyrrell, 62, of Alexis. Tyrrell worked in various capacities for the county including board secretary. The charges are believed to have taken place between Jan. 1, 2005 and Jan. 22, 2009.

Count 1 of the charges is a theft complaint, a Class 2 Felony. The complaint states that the defendant exerted unauthorized control over governmental monies of Mercer County exceeding $300 but not exceeding $10,000.

Count II of the charges is official misconduct, a Class 3 felony. The charge alleges Tyrrell used cash from the Mercer County Animal Control fund for her personal use.

Count III of the charges is for theft, a Class 4 felony. She is alleged to have exerted unauthorized control over government monies of Mercer County not exceeding $300.

Mercer County States Attorney Greg McHugh said the actual amount, found by the forensic audit, is closer to the lower end of that scale. "The amounts were not huge," said McHugh. McHugh refused to rule out anyone else being charged in relation to the incidents. "Its an ongoing investigation."

This is the second time in the past five years that a county employee associated with the animal control department has faced charges. Former Animal Control Officer Paul King was arrested in January of 2005. He pled guilty to a Class 2 felony count of theft between $10,000 and $100,000. According to the court document King ended up paying $35,000 in restitution to the county.

McHugh said the recent forensic audit suggested changes that are being made to hopefully ensure that something like this doesn't happen again.

Tyrrell's arraignment is sent for 9 a.m. on May 6.