Council member arrested on theft charges
by Jennifer Cohron
Jan 24, 2014 | 5204 views | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stephen Tidwell
Stephen Tidwell
Cordova City Council member Stephen Tidwell was arrested Thursday after turning himself in to the Jasper Police Department on theft charges.

Tidwell, who also resigned from his council position, was charged with one count of theft of property in the first degree. He was released after posting bond.

JPD investigator Daryl Atkins said the case involved theft of merchandise by deception.

Atkins said the alleged theft occurred when Tidwell was employed with GCR Tires.

“He set up a false account and made purchases for his personal use. When it came time to pay for those purchases, he used his position as office manager and redirected funds from other companies who were doing business with GCR to pay his personal bill instead of the bills that were supposed to be paid,” Atkins said.

Atkins said between $3,800 and $4,000 was misdirected over at least a one-year period, and the investigation began in December.

Cordova Mayor Drew Gilbert confirmed Thursday that Tidwell had submitted a letter of resignation.

The reason given by Tidwell in the letter is “a wonderful employment opportunity that will limit my ability to be dedicated to my district, community, and citizens the way that I see fit. This community deserves someone that can give 100 percent and currently I am unable to give that.”

Tidwell said by phone Thursday that he recently accepted an out-of-town job that will require him to work long hours, making him unable to attend the bimonthly council meetings.

Tidwell also confirmed the arrest but said it was not related to his resignation.

Gilbert said he expects the city will accept applications from residents of District 5 who wish to fill Tidwell’s seat, and the official appointment will be made by the council.