The theft of $79,000 from the Kountze First United Methodist Church uncovered by the church’s governing members led Texas Rangers to arrest an employee of the church. Gerralyn Michelle Coplen, 43, is alleged to have stolen the money in her position as the church secretary.
Coplen, who is also known as “Gerry,” admitted to misappropriating funds over a two-year period, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Hardin County. The affidavit states that Coplen, while employed as the church secretary, “indeed used church funds to pay her own personal debts.”
Coplen confessed that she had written checks to herself and set up automated clearing house (ACH) debits to pay bills; finally, transferring $20,000 from one account to another the affidavit says.
She was booked into the Hardin County Jail on March 9 on a second-degree felony theft charge and released on a $25,000 bond.