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‘Valued’ former employee accused of stealing thousands from business

By Staff | Jan 22, 2009

The former office manager of a Cape Coral heating and cooling company is accused of stealing more than $25,000 from the business during the past two years of her employment.
Beth Ann Langdale, 40, of 4412 S.W. 13th Ave., was charged Wednesday with grand theft and later booked into the Lee County Jail.
According to jail booking records, Langdale was later released on $5,000 bond.
Langdale was the office manager for Blalock’s Heating and Cooling Inc.
According to Tom Blalock, the company’s owner, Langdale had been stealing money from the company without authorization for her own personal use.
“She was what we thought was a valued employee, part of the family,” Blalock told the Breeze on Thursday. “Everyone that works here is a part of the family. I was devastated.”
Blalock said Langdale wrote double checks to herself, as well as wrote checks to suppliers by entering them into the company’s computer system, but then made them out to herself.
Blalock said the company’s accountant discovered something was awry in September. Following an 2 1/2-month internal investigation, Blalock turned the matter over to police.
In December, accountant Kevin M. Burns & Associated provided police with documents supporting Blalock’s claim. The documents showed that Langdale had taken $28,362.82 without authorization over a two-year period.
Langdale had worked for the company for approximately five years and was terminated from her employment on Dec. 5.
“It happens, and everybody’s devastated when it does,” Blalock said. “Sometimes you’ve really got to be careful. In this time, it hurts, and it hurts bad. To lose somebody that you thought so much of hurts also.”
Langdale reportedly turned herself in to the Cape Coral Police Department and admitted to stealing the money in a sworn written statement Jan. 14.