Officials in Iowa town, including mayor and police chief, arrested on multiple charges

National

ARMSTRONG, Iowa (KCAU) — Four public officials of a small Iowa town have been charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors after a multi-year investigation uncovered charges including embezzlement and using a Taser on a civilian, authorities say.

On Thursday, Armstrong Mayor Greg Buum, Police Chief Craig Merrill, city clerk Tracie Lang and former city clerk Connie Thackery were charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses in trial information containing 21 joint counts, according to the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office.

Police Chief Craig Merrill (Photo Courtesy of Emmet County Sheriff’s Office)

Buum, Thackery and Lang were arrested Friday, and Merrill was taken into custody Saturday in Minnesota and is awaiting extradition to Iowa.

The multi-year investigation uncovered wrongdoing that included misappropriation of city funds, the presentation of fraudulent public records, deploying a Taser against a civilian in exchange for cash and falsification of ledgers to conceal embezzlement.

The top count against Buum, Merrill, and Thackery is a charge of ongoing criminal conduct, a class B felony. The top count against Lang is a fraudulent practice in the first degree, a class C felony.

Class B felony convictions carry 25 or more years in prison, while class C felonies carry 10 to 25 years.

The trial information also alleges additional counts against some of the defendants for theft, felonious misconduct in office, non-felonious misconduct in office, tampering with records, assault with a dangerous weapon, and falsifying public documents.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting these cases at the request of the local county attorney due to a potential conflict of interest, and one or more additional arrests are pending. 

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