Police search home of couple accused of stealing from homeless veteran
The twisting tale began when Johnny Bobbitt Jr. gave Katelyn McClure his last $20 — but he now accuses her of stealing from an online fundraiser for him.
Police on Thursday morning descended on the home of a New Jersey couple accused of pilfering from an online fundraiser they launched that raised more than $400,000 to help a homeless veteran.
A search warrant was executed at the Florence Township home of Katelyn McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, in connection with a criminal investigation, confirmed Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina. He added that no charges were filed but "further updates will be provided as circumstances warrant."
It was unclear what law enforcement agents were seeking. A local ABC reporter tweeted that a BMW belonging to the couple was seized.
Last month, homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. told The Philadelphia Inquirer that McClure, who works for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and D'Amico, a carpenter, spent the money meant for him on a new BMW and lavish getaways to California, Florida, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
Execution of the search warrant comes a day after a judge ordered McClure, 28, and D'Amico, 39, to appear in depositions next week and describe what happened to the funds from the GoFundMe account they started last November for Bobbitt.
The judge said that what happened to some of the funds "lacks clarity" and that she needed to hear from the couple themselves.
Chris Fallon, an attorney representing Bobbitt, told NBC Philadelphia this week that he was "shocked" and "appalled" to learn during a call with the couple's attorneys that the more-than $402,000 they raised was completely gone.
Ernest Badway, their attorney, declined to comment about how much actually remains, or about Thursday's search warrant.
The initially touching tale drew national attention last fall when Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 after she ran out of gas on a freeway ramp outside of Philadelphia. To pay it forward, McClure and D'Amico later started the online fundraiser for Bobbitt, drawing more than 14,000 donations.
But it turned into a legal dispute in late August when attorneys for Bobbitt filed a lawsuit to try to force the couple to turn over the remaining money that he said he had never received.
The couple said on NBC's "Megyn Kelly Today" last week that they did not use any of the money that was raised, but believed there could be as little as $150,000 left after they claimed Bobbitt spent the funds on family, a trailer and truck, and drugs.
They added that while they had set up an account for Bobbitt and he had access to the funds, the account didn't include all of the money because they feared he would spend it on drugs. They said Bobbitt had already gone through about $25,000 in 13 days.
Badway previously said in court that Bobbitt received at least $200,000 of the funds, The Inquirer reported.
But in court documents filed by Bobbitt's attorneys, the couple was accused of using "substantial portions of the money raised for their own personal use.”
The judge who ordered them to turn over the remainder of the money said the couple must give those funds to their defense lawyer, who must then put it into an escrow account as the case continues, NBC Philadelphia reported. The judge also ordered McClure and D'Amico to provide a full accounting of the money.
In a statement, GoFundMe said that it was working with law enforcement to ensure Bobbitt receives all of the funds that were raised for him and that it has given $20,000 to a bank account created by Bobbitt's legal team.