Hayes Barton church worker might face more embezzlement charges
Posted January 13, 2012
Updated January 14, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — An employee of Hayes Barton Baptist Church charged with embezzlement might have stolen money from other churches, prosecutors said on Friday.
Robert Garland Lahr, 49, of 917 Clay Hill Drive in Knightdale, is accused of taking more than $136,000 from the church during his five-year stint as church administrator.
According to an arrest warrant, Lahr racked up $136,324 in personal purchases on a church credit card and manipulated the payroll accounts and made unauthorized transfers between accounts to cover it up.
Lahr stopped working at the church in April, when the investigation began. He was charged Jan. 4 with obtaining property by false pretense in excess of $100,000.
Defense attorney Robert Nunley said Lahr is fully cooperating with authorities and a private investigator hired by the church.
Hayes Barton Baptist Church released a statement Friday saying it is "truly saddened" and was praying "for God's grace with this former employee and his family."
Lahr, a father of two, denies any misconduct involving other churches, but the state said there is evidence that Hayes Barton Baptist might not be the only church victimized by Lahr.
Lahr now lives in Charlotte and has a job that does not involve finances, Nunley said.
A judge on Friday reduced Lahr's bond from $150,000 to $100,000. He remained in the Wake County jail on Friday afternoon. He is due in court on Feb. 2.