ROCKLAND — Police have charged a longtime employee in the Rockland Finance Department with stealing more than $5,000 from the city.

Laurie Smith, 55, of Rockland was issued a summons last Friday alleging theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, Rockland Police Chief Christopher Young said.

Smith had been using a city credit card to make personal purchases, Young said. The purchases had been occurring since 2016 and totaled $5,159, he said. Smith had paid back about $2,000, but still owed the city $3,106 when the theft was uncovered by other city staff, the chief said.

She is scheduled to make her initial appearance at Knox County Court on Dec. 10.

Smith no longer works for the city, City Manager Tom Luttrell said on Thursday, declining to comment further on the matter.

Smith also was treasurer of the Maine Lobster Festival in 2018 and was named its treasurer for 2019. The organization recently has been embroiled in controversy over its removal of the festival Sea Goddess Taylor Hamlin over photographs she posted online that the board said were inappropriate.

Newly elected festival board President Celia Knight said Thursday that the board was aware that Smith had been charged and has taken all necessary steps. The books have been reviewed and nothing wrong was found. The board is expected to vote Monday to formally remove her from her position with the organization.

Knight said the festival has tried to contact Smith, but has been unable to reach her.

Smith had been employed by the city since 1993. She received a certificate from the City Council in 2013 for 20 years of service.

The Knox County Court was closed Thursday, and it could not be determined if Smith had hired an attorney.

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