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Former VFW commander accused of embezzlement

Rusty Barnes
Rusty Barnes

A former commander of the Oregon VFW has been charged with embezzling several thousand dollars from the post.

Rusty Barnes, 47, of Davis Junction, is facing seven counts of felony theft for incidents that occurred from June 20, 2016 to Jan. 18, 2017 while he was the commander of the post.

He has been charged with five counts of theft of between $500 and $10,000, Class 3 felonies, and two counts of theft of between $10,000 and $100,000, Class 2 felonies.

Ogle County State’s Attorney Eric Morrow said the investigation indicates that Barnes took between $10,000 to $100,000 from the post during his time as its commander.

Barnes became post commander in June of 2016 and resigned the following January.

“The theft was discovered because the people taking over for him were vigilant and brought it to the attention of law enforcement,” Morrow said.

According to a press release from Oregon Police Chief Darin DeHaan, police were called on March 9, 2017 to a possible theft at the VFW post, located at 1310 W. Washington St.

“After a lengthy investigation and consultation with the Ogle County State’s Attorney’s office, a warrant for several counts of theft was issued on June 27, 2019,” the press release read.

Barnes was arrested by Ogle County deputies at his home the next day.

“It took time to get the documents to determine what had occurred,” DeHaan said.

Bond was originally set at $10,000. During a court appearance June 28, Judge John B. Roe released Barnes on a recognizance bond.

He is scheduled to appear in court at a preliminary hearing on July 31.

A Class 2 felony carries a penalty of 3 to 7 years in prison, and a Class 3 is punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison.