George Alexander, Greencastle, had checked into a Holiday Inn in Plainfield under a fictitious name on Thursday, and paid cash for that room, Det. Scott Stockton of the Indiana State Police told the BannerGraphic on Friday.
"That is indicative of a person 'on the run'," said Stockton, an investigator with ISP's white collar crime division.
Alexander, former ombudsman with the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept., is wanted on felony counts of misappropriation of funds. A recent audit of the sheriff's department indicates Alexander allegedly deposited about $45,000 in funds from federal grants into his personal bank account. The funds were intended for equipment and personnel needs of the sheriff's department. Other withdrawals from the federal grant account, bearing Alexander's signature, amount to an additional $15,000.
Stockton said Alexander's vehicle was spotted in the Plainfield hotel parking lot by ISP Trooper Cory Robinson, resulting in a surveillance team setting up to watch for Alexander.
Stockton speculated that Alexander saw police vehicles at the hotel, and never returned to his room. He abandoned his personal belongings and vehicle at the hotel.
But someone must have helped Alexander leave the hotel area, the detective said, and that person is now in as much trouble as Alexander.
"We will be looking into others who have helped him, because that is assisting a fugitive," Stockton said. "They face the same penalties as he does."
The veteran detective said he also has a pending call to federal investigators with the Department of Justice to see if they have any interest in pursuing the case since it involves federal grant money.
Stockton said he hopes Alexander is found soon, or that he turns himself in soon.
"The longer it drags out, the worse it looks," he said.
Alexander has claimed he made the financial transactions at the direction of others in the sheriff's department. He also told the BannerGraphic via a phone call Thursday that he has proof of those claims.
Stockton said Alexander was given a chance to explain his actions when the investigation began, but did not do so.
When police went Thursday morning to Alexander's home on Crescent Drive in Greencastle, Alexander was not there.
Police had a search warrant to collect evidence related to the case. They also intended to arrest Alexander. He has since been considered a fugitive.