Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 20, 2013

Police seek former Derrick Days official

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Editor's note: This story was modified on Thursday, March 21, 2013, to indicate police briefly talked with the suspect on Monday, but she declined to be interviwed.

The Corsicana Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for Christle R. Owens, 31, of Corsicana, in connection with the alleged theft of about $10,000 from the Derrick Days festival coffers.

Owens was the former vice president of the annual festival, which is still scheduled for April 27.

Owens has also gone by the names Christle Hardin, Christle Jones and Cristle Reamy and is a former resident of Waco. Until Monday, she was the manager of Ideal Storage in Corsicana.

Police are also investigating a reported theft of cash from Ideal, according to Police Chief Randy Bratton.

“Additional charges are likely,” he said.

On Monday, Fran Townes, the chairman of the Derrick Days festival, was informed that the bank account was overdrawn. Since only three people had access to the account, and only one had the debit cards, it was a pretty simple trail to follow. But following a trail and making a legal case are two separate matters, according to Bratton.

Police talked to Owens on Monday, but she declined to be interviewed, Bratton said, and now is no longer at her residence.

“We didn’t feel we had suficient probable cause at the time to make an on-site arrest at the report of the initial report,” Bratton explained. “We have to be able to show that she’s the one who made the unlawful transactions.

“We’re investigating dozens of unlawful transactions,” he added. “That makes the investigation timely and complex. We’re not talking about a one-time incident. We’re looking at dozens of unlawful transactions over an extended period of time.”

The news that the festival was threatened by the loss of so much money has brought out a generous side in the community, Townes said Wednesday.

“I have received two $1,000 donations, in addition to a grant from the (Corsicana Tourism and Visitor’s Bureau) to help us get restarted,” she stated.

Chris Martin, owner of Ideal Storage, said it was a surprise to everyone that Owens was allegedly stealing from the festival and his company. After realizing the internal losses, Martin terminated Owens, he said.

“We’re doing everything we can to help recover what was Derrick Days property,” he said. “To give back to them.”

Martin said the company is donating as much as they can to the community.

“I want to contribute and invest in Corsicana as much as possible,” Martin said. “This is just an unfortunate event.

“It’s very unfortunate our former employee was not the person she claimed to be,” Martin said.

Bratton praised Martin for his cooperation in the investigation.

Owens has a previous conviction for theft in McLennan County, according to Texas Department of Public Safety records.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com