Coplen, 41, was responsible for making water department deposits on a daily basis, according to the arrest affidavit.
The city was originally alerted to missing funds in the Water Department in a July annual audit. The city then hired an Arkadelphia accounting firm to conduct a specific accounting of the missing funds. That internal audit discovered an "internal control deficiency" had been detected, according to court documents.
The missing funds were deposit amounts from the department's account, including checks and cash.
According to the affidavit, Water Department Manager Virginia Childres asked Coplen about the missing deposits, but Coplen "denied any knowledge of the missing deposits," according to court documents.
However, the affidavit reads, Coplen met with Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin on July 26, 2012, and admitted to taking cash from deposit bags for personal use, but claimed she intended to pay it back.
On August 2nd, the affidavit goes on to read, Franklin found an envelope with Coplen's name on it laying on his desk. Inside, he found a type written letter, outlining reasons Coplen took the money along with checks that would have been deposited into the Water Department fund.
Coplen was terminated prior to the Arkansas State Police investigation.
If convicted on the felony theft charges she could face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
41-YEAR-OLD STEPHANIE JO COPLEN FACES FELONY THEFT CHARGES, STEMMING FROM AN ARKANSAS STATE POLICE INVESTIGATION.
CITY OFFICIALS BECAME AWARE OF THE MISSING FUNDS DURING AN ANNUAL AUDIT... AN INTERNAL REVIEW RESULTED IN COPLEN'S TERMINATION, PRIOR TO THE STATE POLICE INVESTIGATION.
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IF CONVICTED SHE COULD FACE BETWEEN THREE AND TEN YEARS IN PRISON AND A 10 THOUSAND DOLLAR FINE.