County treasurer charged with non-governmental theft

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

On Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012 around 4:30 p.m. the Aledo Police Department was notified of an alleged felony theft. The initial investigation then led to the arrest of a rural Aledo man. Around 10:35 p.m., Michael R. Bertelsen, 53, of rural Aledo was arrested on a warrant charging him with felony theft. Bertelsen, the Mercer County Treasurer, was taken into custody at the Aledo Police Department and transported to the Mercer County Jail. He later posted the required bond of $20,000 dollars (10 percent applies) and was released.

This is an on-going investigation with the Illinois State Police taking this investigation over with the Aledo Police Department and Mercer County Sheriff's Department assisting.

Mercer County States Attorney Greg McHugh has filed a single count of Theft, a Class 3 felony, in an alleged theft of non-governmental funds.

The complaint states that the said defendant knowingly obtained unauthorized control over property of the Republican Central Committee of Mercer County, being cash, having a total value over $500 and concealed the property knowing such concealment probably would deprive the Republican Central Committee of Mercer County, permanently of such use or benefit.

State's Attorney McHugh noted the allegations "do not involve any Mercer County Funds." To protect the integrity of the Treasurer's office, the Mercer Conty Sheriff is restricting access to the office. The Mercer County Board plans to obtain a forensic audit to make sure taxpayer funds are being properly handled and all proper accounting protections are in place.

McHugh noted, "Michael R. Bertelsen is presumed innocent. An out of county State's Attorney Appellate Prosecutor has been appointed to avoid any Mercer County Conflict. The Illinois State Police remain in charge of the ongoing investigation."