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$10,000 missing from Warner Robins Little League coffers

Over the weekend, days after learning that a $10,000 cash fund had been cleaned out and that an additional $5,000-plus in unauthorized purchases were made with the organization’s credit cards, Warner Robins American Little League officials went to the cops.

On Saturday, they reported to Houston County sheriff’s deputies that both the league’s president and its softball vice president for the most recent season were to blame, according to an incident report. The two have been banished by the league.

Since 2007, Warner Robins American, a state and regional powerhouse, has combined to win three Little League World Series titles — one in baseball and two in softball.

According to the report in which league representatives outlined possible forgery, fraud and theft, the ex-softball vice president, while still in the league’s good graces, used its credit card to buy items at Lowe’s.

Both former league officials allegedly ran up “numerous charges to other places,” including Dunkin’ Donuts, the report noted.Neither has been charged with a crime.

The ousted softball vice president, Thomas Darin McDowell, 40, of Warner Robins, was reportedly linked to six pages of receipts for unauthorized purchases at Lowe’s, the sheriff’s report stated.

Other unlisted charges were attributed to now-ex-league president Joseph Dante Stella, 37, of Warner Robins, who had held the position since fall 2012.

The report said the league’s “cash fund (of) over $10,000 ... was no longer available.”

Sheriff’s officials on Monday said they were investigating the matter, which includes in excess of $5,000 in credit card charges.

It wasn’t clear when league officials first learned of the unauthorized spending, but when they informed Stella and McDowell of the problem, both were banned from the league for life.

The incident report said the league — at some point in recent days — had granted the pair a month to pay restitution.

However, sometime last week league officials were told by Little League’s national office to file a police report.

According to that report, Stella apparently told one Little League district higher-up that he “admitted using the credit card to purchase items for his residence and renovations.”

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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