The former treasurer for the Coal Valley firefighters' auxiliary fund is accused of stealing from the collection and her husband, the former assistant chief, is accused of trying to cover it up.

Laurie Mitchell, 51, is charged with felony theft. She is accused of taking up to $10,000 from the fund, Rock Island County court records show. The money, all donations, is used to support the volunteer firefighters and charitable efforts in the village.

Her husband, James Mitchell, 50, faces a felony charge of obstruction/destroying evidence.

Officials in the Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office confirmed Thursday that James Mitchell, now assistant fire chief at the Rock Island Arsenal, is not accused of participating in the theft. He is accused of attempting to reimburse the fund to cover for the losses.

"A complaint was brought to us," Coal Valley Police Chief Mark Poulos said Thursday of the reason an investigation into missing funds started in early February. The investigation resulted in the charges, which were filed March 7.

"Both subjects turned themselves in and were then released on bond," Poulos said, adding that the case should not be regarded a reflection on the volunteer fire department. "The volunteers out here, all of them, are just super individuals."

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The Mitchells' cases are scheduled for preliminary hearings on March 25. Both have discontinued their associations with the fire department and its auxiliary, Poulos said.

They could not be reached for comment.

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