In recent weeks, we have been following the investigation of possible theft charges related to a candidate for public office.
The Bremerton Police Department confirms that they have an active investigation underway regarding Wendy Stevens, who is running for the Bremerton School District Board of Directors.
Through multiple sources, we became aware of the disappearance of funds from the Naval Avenue PTA where Stevens was president for the past three years. At the same time we were working to verify those claims, Stevens was reported missing by her family and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office began an all-out search for her.
The sheriff’s office mobile command unit and multiple officers and vehicles were taken near to where she lives and was last seen and a search was underway. Although she had been missing for more than 24 hours, she was found safe within five hours of the initiation of the search.
When she went missing, we posted that on our website including the verified information we had about the theft claims and police investigation.
Some readers have commented that we shouldn’t have linked the two stories. But it seemed apparent that Steven’s disappearance was due at least in part to the fact that she had learned she was being looked at in relation to the missing school money.
From an editor’s point of view, it is important that our readers know that we went forward with the information we had at the time because Stevens should be considered a public person. When she threw her hat in the ring for school board, she became someone that we watch and report on, be it good or bad news. We owe that to our readers.
With her disappearance, law enforcement resources and tax dollars were spent to locate her. The public deserves to know how that was handled. While we have requested documents regarding the search and the investigation into the theft of funds, we’re being told the reports won’t be released until the investigation is completed.
Readers have our word that we will continue to ask for the reports and when we receive them we will share them. Readers also should know that we are not drawing conclusions on Steven’s innocence or guilt.
Our goal is to give you the information and let each of you decide for yourself whether Stevens is someone who should be on the Bremerton School Board.