Crime & Courts

Former Illinois Railway Museum volunteer pleads not guilty to theft charges

A former Illinois Railway Museum volunteer pleaded not guilty Friday to stealing thousands of dollars from the organization by falsifying invoices.

Rod L. Turner entered the plea beside a McHenry County public defender who was appointed to represent him on the felony charges.

He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, theft of more than $10,000.

A 27-count criminal complaint filed in May accuses the 60-year-old of being reimbursed for about $28,767 worth of supplies and services the museum never received.

The Union-based museum operates on about $1 million each year, not including the cost of equipment restoration projects, which largely are funded by donations, tax documents show.

Police believe Turner exaggerated at least 26 invoices detailing work from companies that provided services such as steel and engine labor from December 2015 to October 2016, the complaint shows.

Turner, of the 300 block of East Palace Row, Geneseo, had been a volunteer at the museum for about 10 years. He eventually rose to become the curator of the organization’s electrical car department, museum representatives have said.

Museum staff became aware of the potentially misappropriated funds in late 2016.

Turner’s volunteer work ended in November 2016, after staff met with attorneys and hired forensic auditors to investigate their suspicions.

Turner is scheduled to appear in court July 27.

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