OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Authorities are investigating the loss of a “substantial amount” of money from the town’s library, and suspicions are focused on a former bookkeeper who died last week.

The board of the Edith Bell Libby Memorial Library was told of the missing money this week by officials with Saco & Biddeford Savings, said Jerome Plante, the board’s chairman.

Plante would not disclose how much money was involved, saying the board has been given various figures. “We are talking about a substantial amount of money,” he said.

Alice Langdon, treasurer of the town-funded library, said she was told about the missing money late last week. She said the money was lost during the time that Linda Jenkins was the bookkeeper for the library.

Jenkins, 53, died early Saturday. Her obituary said she worked for Ram Trust Investments, the library, the Oak Hill Condo Association and the Alouette Beach Resort, a motel in Old Orchard Beach.

The obituary also said she volunteered with OOB 365, a tourism promotion effort by the Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce; the Conservation Commission; and the renovation of the town-owned Ballpark.

Jenkins was the bookkeeper for the library for about six or seven years, Langdon said, until she had to stop because of failing health about eight weeks ago. She was still listed as bookkeeper on the library’s website Wednesday.

Plante said the board of trustees and the bank contacted Old Orchard Beach police, the York County district attorney and the state Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday. He said the Attorney General’s Office took some of the library’s financial records and planned an audit.

Attempts to reach officials in the Attorney General’s Office were unsuccessful late Wednesday.

Plante said Jenkins was well-liked in town, so learning that she might have been involved with the missing money “was disheartening, to say the least.”

In November, voters approved a $2 million bond to expand the library. Plante and Langdon said the bond has not yet been sold and the missing money would not affect the expansion plans.

Plante said that until the audit is completed and library officials determine how much money is missing, he can’t say how library operations might be affected.

Town Manager Mark Pearson declined to comment or say why he didn’t want to speak about the matter, even after the library’s board put out a press release confirming “a discrepancy” in the funds.

“We don’t know that anything is missing at this time,” he said, and he hadn’t given the board permission to put out a statement.

“I do not have the facts at this time to make a sufficient comment,” he said.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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