NORWICH--A former church official has been arrested after police say he stole thousands from his church.
According to Norwich Police, on June 24 a senior warden from the Grace Episcopal Church of Yantic reported irregularities in their finances. The church had learned of the issue on June 20, and spoke to the only person who had access to the church's debit card and checking account.
An investigation ensued, and police say they determined that Andrew Rushford, 62, of Yantic, who was the former treasurer for the church, had stolen $30,000 in a year, and that since 2013, when he became treasurer, he had embezzled a total of $43,000.
According to an affidavit from police, the reporting church member said that when confronted about using the church's money for personal use, Rushford said something along the lines of, "Yes, I did it, I'm sorry, send me to jail."
During an interview with police, Rushford admitted to using the church's debit card to withdraw money from the ATM for his own personal use, instead of paying that money to the Diocese. The arrest warrant states Rushford would use the money for "food, alcohol, golf, pretty much anything he needed."
Rushford was arrested and charged with larceny in the first degree. He was initially held on $50,000 bond. After his arraignment, he was released on a promise to appear at his next court date of August 9.
Rushford lived at the church rectory. No one was there when Fox 61 knocked on the rectory door. Our calls and e-mails requesting a comment from church leadership were not returned.