Man accused of stealing DARE donations

March 6, 2008 5:57:43 PM PST
They're shaking their heads in Pemberton Township. Police say 50-year-old Jason Mitchell told people for years he was raising money for the township's drug education program known as DARE.

Now police say he kept the thousands of dollars and spent it all on himself.

"How dare he. I just can't understand why someone would do something like that," said Chief Bob Lewandowski.

Police say Mitchell is the operator of the Browns Mills Dream Car Club. He ran a website for car enthusiasts until it was shut down this week. Mitchell also staged local car shows.

Police say on the website and on pamphlets, he made it very clear that all proceeds would go to benefit the township's drug education program for kids better known as DARE.

Officer Christal Bartholomew runs the DARE program. She says last year Mitchell contacted her about bringing a police car to one of his car shows. She anticipated she would soon receive the money that Mitchell allegedly collected for DARE over a six-year period.

"I was like great. This is going to help us out a lot. I am going to get extra stuff for the kids, a better graduation for them, and it didn't turn out to be," said Bartholomew.

Police say their investigation uncovered that Mitchell had collected more than three thousand dollars for dare. He was arrested this week and, police say, he admitted to spending all the DARE donations on himself.

"It's disgusting. It's abhorrent that someone would do that and shortchange the children of Pemberton Township," said Lewandowski.

Outside his home this afternoon, Mitchell told us he has been advised by an attorney not to comment.

"I can't make any comments. I am going to court and plead my case," he said.

At his parking lot car shows, Mitchell allegedly raised money by holding raffles, selling t-shirts and charging participants.

Police are still checking bank records, but they believe all the money is gone. They hope if he is convicted a judge will order him to make a very large donation to DARE.


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