UPDATE: Chattanooga police arrest Bessie Smith Cultural Center e - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Chattanooga police make arrest in theft from Bessie Smith Cultural Center

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Officials with the Bessie Smith Cultural Center sent out a release Tuesday saying the man charged with stealing roughly $60,000 from the Center was not an employee.

Torrey Hines was a contractor who provided custodial services and assisted the facility with special events.

The officials go on to say they are thrilled to have recovered a significant portion of the stolen money.   And are implementing additional precautionary measures to assure that this does not happen again.


Over $30,000 stolen from the Bessie Smith Cultural Center was returned today after the man behind the theft turned himself in.

35-year-old Torrey Lamar Hines was arrested Monday afternoon, being charged with burglary, vandalism, and theft over $50,000.

"Anytime someone is victimized or subject to a crime, it's offensive. In this case it was an organization that was trying to help our community and that offends us," said Fred Fletcher, Chattanooga Police Chief.

Chief Fletcher says that emotion was the driving factor in the Bessie Smith theft investigation as they searched for clues to help locate the suspect responsible.

Chief Fletcher says detectives worked hard to pin-point the right suspects, weeding through the real evidence and the fake that was left behind.

"There were a couple of things involved that made it clear they were arouse and trying to throw our investigation off," said Fletcher.

So investigators went back to the basics.  "They used fingerprints and DNA to eliminate some suspects and to identify suspects," said Fletcher.

As investigators began to zero in on suspects, Fletcher says Hines cracked and turned himself in.

"When folks do the work Helbert’s folks did and do an in-depth investigation, and they know we're going to come to a conclusion, that's when people turn themselves in," said Fletcher.

Fletcher says Hines worked with the Cultural Center.

"When crimes like this occur, it's often someone who knows where the money is," said Fletcher.

He says this theft was a learning experience that the whole city can grow from.

"Money is a very motivating factor and one of the things we are going to be doing moving forward is working with events like the Strut and other organizations on a protocol so these type of things don't happen again," said Fletcher.

Hines will appear in court on July 15th.

Chief Fletcher says they don't believe anyone else was involved in the theft.

They plan to continue the investigation to locate the remainder of the money stolen.

An arrest is made two weeks after $60,000 in cash went missing from the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. 

Monday Torrey Lamar Hines turned himself in to the Chattanooga Police Department  and confessed. 

Hines will be charged with burglary, vandalism and theft of over $50,000.

The investigation continues.
Read more on this story.  Bessie Smith Cultural Center director addresses stolen Strut money

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