HAZARD — Charles Gabbard, who is accused of stealing donations from volunteers meant for Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter (KRRAS) and a volunteer’s cellphone was indicted this month on charges relating to the incident.
Gabbard, 37, of Hazard was indicted this month on one count of theft by unlawful taking more than $500 and one count of tampering with physical evidence. Both charges are Class D felonies.
Hazard Police Department (HPD) arrested Gabbard earlier this month after volunteers with KRASS called HPD saying Gabbard had stolen a donation bucket, along with a volunteer’s cellphone, during a road collection near the Sazon Mexican Restaurant.
According to a police report, Gabbard had pulled up to the volunteers and acted like he was going to donate money, but instead grabbed the donation bucket and sped off.
HPD were able to track the whereabouts of Gabbard because of a ping from the volunteer’s cellphone that Gabbard allegedly had stolen.
Maj. James East with HPD observed a similar vehicle that matched the description of the vehicle Gabbard was driving during the alleged truck operating on Hwy. 80. After performing a traffic stop on the vehicle, HPD say Gabbard was the one who was operating the vehicle.
A second ping of the volunteer’s cellphone lead HPD to discover the cellphone and the donation bucket, but not the donations themselves, 50 yards up a dirt road on Hwy. 80. According to HPD, investigators took photos of the tire tracks and gave it a positive match to Gabbard’s vehicle.
During his questioning, HPD say Gabbard confessed to stealing the donations after being confronted with the evidence HPD gathered. He also told HPD where he hid the money, police say.
HPD were able to recover $147 of the donated money.
Gabbard was arrested on charges of theft by unlawful taking more than $500 and tampering with physical evidence. He was lodged into Kentucky River Regional Jail.
Bail is set in the amount of $10,000 cash plus home incarceration and MCR. He is scheduled for arraignment on June 30 at 9 a.m. in the Perry County Circuit Court.
TJ Caudill is a reporter with The Hazard Herald and he can be reached at 606-629-3245.