Teacher charged with forgery, theft
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A Northview High School English teacher, who was also treasurer and bookkeeper for a Northwest Escambia (Fla.) Little League Baseball program at Bradberry Park, surrendered to Escambia County, Ala. authorities June 13 after an investigation that began in Florida determined she stole nearly $17,000 from the league’s bank account, then either cashed checks or used debit transactions to convert the funds to her personal use.
Authorities said Pugh’s alleged crimes did not involve Northview High or her job there.
Atmore Police Department reports show that APD detectives were notified May 31 by an investigator with the Escambia County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office that 48-year-old Paula Pugh “had been under investigation in reference to financial theft from Northwest Escambia Bradberry Park.”
Pugh faced charges of grand theft and fraud that could have resulted upon conviction in a prison sentence of up to 20 years, but Florida authorities decided in April 2023 to drop the charges against her for “jurisdictional reasons.”
APD detectives took over the case when it was determined that forged checks having a collective value of $9,226 were cashed, and several debit transactions and ATM withdrawals were made at First National Bank & Trust in Atmore. Pugh also used league resources to make several purchases at Dick’s Sporting Goods and All Florida Drug Course.
After a review of witness statements and the financial records, which indicated at least 43 unauthorized transactions totaling $16,977.87 were made between July 2021 and October 2022, a warrant was issued for Pugh’s arrest.
Pugh was released on bond shortly after she was booked into the Escambia County Detention Center (ECDC). She is charged with nine counts of third-degree possession of a forged instrument and one count each of first-degree theft by deception and second-degree theft by deception.
Officials of Northwest Escambia Football & Cheer at Bradberry Park said NWE Little League is not affiliated with the organization.
Other felony arrests made during the period June 13-18 and not previously published include:
*The ECDC website shows that Jabarie Lawann Arnold, 43, of Atmore was arrested June 14 on one count of first-degree receiving stolen property, a Class B felony.
The arrest marked the 17th time Arnold, who was released June 16 on bond, has been booked into the county jail since 2009.
*Doyle Wayne Coleman, 58, was arrested June 16 and charged by county sheriff’s deputies with one count each of making a terroristic threat (a Class C felony) and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor.
According to Alabama Criminal Code, a person commits the crime of making a terroristic threat when he or she “threatens by any means to commit any crime of violence or to damage any property” by intentionally or recklessly “terrorizing another person; causing the disruption of school activities; causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or other serious public inconvenience.”
Coleman remained behind bars late Monday, June 19.
*Amber Dawn Carland, 35, of Foley, was arrested by Atmore police officers and charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance, a felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.
She remained in the county jail late Monday, June 19.
*An Atmore woman, 28-year-old Kayla Leeann Woods, was arrested by county deputies and charged with one count of first-degree theft of property.
Alabama Criminal Code defines first-degree theft as the theft of property valued at more than $2,500 or the theft of any motor vehicle.
Woods remained in jail late Monday, June 19.