A former employee of the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission is behind bars for stealing from the organization.
It was a theft that no one saw coming. Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission spokesperson, D.J. Hejtmanek, told us that they try to hire from within in order to give shelter residents an opportunity to get back on their feet. Now, they are rethinking that practice after Edward Geiger, a former resident manager, may have stolen more than $13,000 of tenants' rent payments.
Detective Yomeka Evans of the Caddo-Shreveport Financial Crimes Task Force explained that Geiger was taking cash payments from the tenants' rent payments during November and December. Hejtmanek described Geiger as a program resident who had worked his way up to the management position. "We thought he was doing very responsibly and, unfortunately, that wasn't the case."
The Rescue Mission insists that forgiving someone for their mistakes is the first step forward, but at the same time, Hejtmanek said that the organization is learning from its mistakes. They have begun putting more checks and balances into place to make sure that another theft does not happen.
Shreveport-Bossier has already started these newly-implemented procedures to make sure that the money that tenants pay to live at the 2033 Texas Street residence is kept in good hands. Hejtmanek explained that tenants now bring their rent to the Rescue Mission main offices and get a receipt for it. This practice is in place of previously having the tenants pay the resident manager at the Texas Street residence.
The Rescue Mission is also making sure that anyone with responsibilities has adequate supervision, but this isn't the first time that an organization has seen a costly internal crime like this one. Detective Evans told us that they see these types of crimes fairly often adding that this one was particularly special because it affected an organization that strives to help people turn their lives around.
Hejtmanek told us that this incident was an isolated one, and they are typically watchful of their finances. She added that they are very cautious and frugal with the funds that they receive from tenants and donors.
Authorities say that Geiger has a criminal past including charges of theft, forgery and illegal possession of stolen items. He was booked into the Caddo Correctional Center on Thursday for felony theft.