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St. Louis parks officials charged for stealing nearly $500,000

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two St. Louis officials are facing federal charges that they stole nearly a half million dollars in city funds over the past eight years.

A federal grand jury indicted 43-year-old Thomas "Dan" Stritzel, the city's chief park ranger, and 55-year-old deputy parks commissioner Joseph Vacca.

The indictment released Thursday accuses each man of three mail-fraud counts, alleging they men used various schemes to spend the stolen money on vehicle leases, credit card bills and other expenses.

A message was left Thursday with Stritzel's attorney, Scott Rosenblum. Online court records don't show whether Vacca has legal counsel, and he doesn't have a listed telephone number.

Maggie Crane, a spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay, says the two defendants are being placed on forced, unpaid leave, pending disciplinary proceedings.

 

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