The Richmond Register

January 10, 2014

Man charged with falsely soliciting donations

To find Berea teen missing since June

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

BEREA — A Mount Vernon man is facing a theft charge after state police say he kept money donated to aid the search for a missing Berea teen.

Randy Gross, 36, was arrested Tuesday and charged by the Kentucky State Police with theft by failure to make required disposition of property.

A warrant from a KSP investigator stated Gross solicited money from his NACCO co-workers in Berea for the Brookelyn Farthing reward fund.

Farthing, 18, of the Red Lick/Big Hill area, was reported missing June 22. She was last seen at a home in southeastern Madison County.

Gross told the donors that the money collected, which totaled $263, would be used for billboards and other expenses to help find the woman.

However, the KSP allege that Gross later admitted in an interview with police that he kept the money for himself.

Gross was released from the Madison County Detention Center the same day as his arrest on a $500 bond, according to court records.

His charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail. Gross is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Jan. 27 in Madison District Court.

Gross is not the first person in Madison County to be charged with falsely collecting money for expenses related to the search for Farthing

In October, Amanda N. Griffey, 21, of Berea, was indicted on charges of theft of identity and two counts of theft by deception (under $500).

Berea police say Griffey, who identified herself as a representative of a local church, collected $10 each from two people before being stopped by officers on North Broadway.

The officers also reported Griffey had previously gotten $20 from another person after telling that person another name and signed a receipt with another person’s name, according to the BPD.

Griffey admitted she was not collecting money for Farthing’s family, and she also was not with a church, the report stated.

The theft-of-identity charge is a felony, and her case is currently pending in Madison Circuit Court.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.