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Oklahoma ministers use cameras to catch church thief, affidavit says

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Posted at 3:56 PM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 16:57:56-05

Ministers in Marlow caught a member stealing from the church offering after they placed a surveillance camera in the building, an affidavit says. 

Tamara Renee Daniels, 26, has been charged with grand larceny in Stephens County, and prosecutors say she stole between $2,000-$6,000 over an extended period of time.

The ministers became suspicious that someone was stealing tithes, so they installed a camera in one of the classrooms, which recorded Daniels in the act, according to the document. 

The affidavit says Daniels gave a voluntary statement to police, claiming she took the money to give to her brother in prison. She reportedly told investigators she had been taking $280 per week for approximately a year and a half to two years, only missing a handful of Sundays.

“I told her that her brother had not been in prison for two years, and she admitted she was saving the money up for other things before her brother went to prison,” Marlow Police Lt. Antonio Aguilera said.

Aguilera asked Daniels if her mother helped her take the money and she said “sometimes she helps take the offerings to the office but that [her mother] does not take money from the church office."

Later, Daniels reportedly said she had seen her mother take money, but her mother denied that accusation when questioned. 

Aguilera said he asked the mother if surveillance video would show her taking money from the church office and she said “the camera would only show her removing empty envelopes,” and that Daniels was seeing her taking empty envelopes in which to use for her own tithe, the affidavit says. 

According to the document, church leaders wanted charges to be pursued on Daniels. An arrest warrant was issued for Daniels on Monday. She was booked into the Stephens County Jail the next day and was was released on her own recognizance. 

Court records show Daniels is forbidden by the court to have contact with the church. A hearing has been set for January 9, 2019.

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