Papaleoni pleads guilty to theft charges
by Jason Lowrey
Aug 17, 2014 | 4389 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff Report

Ronald Joseph Papaleoni, a former manager of the Lake Allatoona Preservation Authority, pled guilty Wednesday to stealing from the organization.

According to a press release from the Cobb County District Attorney’s office, Papaleoni pled guilty to five counts of theft, which included theft by a fiduciary and theft by a government employee. Papaleoni was sentenced to 15 years on probation, and a hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19 to determine the amount of restitution he should pay.

From 2007 to 2009, while he was the general manager of the authority, Papaleoni wrote multiple unauthorized checks to himself, according to the release. In one reported instance, Papaleoni wrote a $5,000 check from the preservation authority to the Joy Foundation, which he also owned and controlled.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Marbutt believed evidence shows Papaleoni stole approximately $150,000, though the defense contends the amount is less. During the September restitution hearing a judge will determine how much Papaleoni stole and his ability to pay it back.

Papaleoni’s charitable work with Shop with a Cop and his age were factors in allowing a probation sentence, according to the release. However, Marbutt asked Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary E. Staley to deny a first offender status.

“There needs to be a felony record that shows what he did and that he can’t be trusted. The breach of trust is the greater offense. This was not a one-time mistake,” Marbutt said.

The judge agreed with Marbutt, in spite of Papaleoni’s attorney, Rick Kimberly, arguing his client was looking to take jobs playing Santa Claus to help pay the restitution, which he said could not be done with a felony conviction.

Meth, pills found in Crown Royal bag

When three people were seen suspiciously walking from a pharmacy to a gas station Thursday, it was discovered they were carrying methamphetamine and pills.

Two Cartersville police officers responded to Holt’s Pharmacy on Grassdale Road where they spoke with Jeffery Hall, who had a purple Crown Royal bag in his possession. According to the incident report, Hall allowed the officers to search the bag and they found meth and multiple pill bottles. Additional white, yellow and blue pills were allegedly found in plastic baggies, with all packaged separately.

Hall was placed in handcuffs, as were suspects Michael Jones and Mary Merritt.

Also found in the bag was a blue Health Care Staffing pocket date planner, according to the report. Inside the planner were various names and street names and phone numbers written down. On one page an officer reportedly found the words “friend” and “5 buys” and “10 by $80.00.” There were also 10 tick marks on the page.

Hall, Jones and Merritt were all arrested and charged with possession of meth with intent to distribute, three counts of possession of schedule IV and pills not original container.

Water meter stolen

When a Bartow County Water Department employee went to inspect a shut off water meter Thursday, he found the meter was gone and another one in its place.

The employee was at the Lakeway Mobile Home Park to check the meter, according to the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office incident report. The employee said “a few weeks prior” he had shut off the water line at the tap, but he left the old meter in place with a lock.

On his return visit to inspect the meter, the employee found the old meter was gone and a different meter had been installed. However, when the employee checked the line to see if it worked, he found the water was still shut off going to the meter. After running the meter’s serial number, the employee found it came back to an abandoned residence.

The employee said the owner of the water bill had not paid the bill in “numerous months” and the meter runs the entire mobile home park and the residence.

The new water meter was not reported as stolen, but the employee said he was going to add a tampering fee to the water bill.

The deputy spoke with residents living in the mobile home park, and they said “there has not been running water in the park in numerous months and they are unfamiliar why the bill is not being paid,” according to the report.

Woman hears voices,

sees jail cell

On Friday, Bartow deputies were dispatched to Acworth regarding a 911 call from a woman reporting that people were harassing her inside her home.

When deputies arrived they found no one in the residence, but the woman said she was hearing voices and seeing people. Dispatch alerted the officers that patrol units had been called to the location nine times in the last 48 hours. She was transported to the Cartersville Medical Center for a mental evaluation, but she was released after two hours.

Later the woman called again saying her neighbors were cursing at her, and her boyfriend was talking to her through her Internet modem. The woman admitted she was coming off drugs. She was arrested and transported to the county jail without incident.