Police: Former Rescue Ink member stole checks
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Orlandini was arraigned in the Long Beach City Court and bail was set at $500 cash over a $1,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in County Court on May 31 in front of Judge Meryl Berkowitz.
Orlandini did not return requests for comment.
Larry Wolfe, Rescue Ink’s public liaison, said that Orlandini had worked with the organization for approximately four years but departed last November, shortly after Hurricane Sandy. Orlandini also served as the city’s humane commissioner, but was released from service for substandard performance in February, according to police.
Wolfe said that the donation checks Rescue Ink receives are used to fund the facility, and go toward feeding and housing the animals, veterinary visits, transportation and more.
“Knowing that that money was targeted for that purpose, it’s disgusting,” said Wolfe. “He didn’t take the money out of my mouth or [Panzarella’s] mouth. He took it out of Daisy’s mouth and Stone’s mouth. That’s who is suffering from this.”
Aside from the checks, Wolfe believes that Orlandini also took an interminable amount of cash donations.
During Hurricane Sandy, the shelter was completely destroyed. And while Wolfe says they are about 90 percent rebuilt, a lot of the stolen checks were donated to help the organization rebuild. Wolfe said that a lot of the money came out of the group’s own pockets.
“We run on such a shoestring budget,” said Panzarella. “We get $15,000 a year to run the facility. Just in the checks that he took in the last six months — never mind the cash — it’s equivalent to our yearly budget.”
Rescue Ink is a no-kill shelter, meaning that, if the animals do not get adopted, it supports these animals indefinitely.
“What he allegedly stole, that supports these animals for months and months,” said Wolfe. “We’re working at a deficit because of him.”
Panzarella said he is afraid that the incident will deter people from making donations to Rescue Ink in the future, losing what little donations he says they receive. But Wolfe remains optimistic.
“We’re as much of a victim as anybody in this,” said Wolfe. “The people who know what we do will support us.”