No matter how bad a day you're having, things could be worse. You could be Skeeter Manos. A seven-year veteran with the Lakewood police, Manos was pulling down more than $93,000 a year. He was treasurer of his department's union -- and also treasurer of the charity that was created to collect donations for the families of the four cops shot to death at a coffee shop in November 2009.
KOMO News Skeeter Manos: Catch me if you can
At least he took good care of the wife: Tickets to Cirque du Soleil, plane tickets to Vegas, where he doled out $1,200 on rooms at the swanky Bellagio.
Between Feb. 12, 2010, and Feb. 20, 2011, he also withdrew about $50,000 from ATMs, money he skimmed off the top of the donations, according to the complaint. On dozens of occasions, he gambled up a storm at casinos in Pierce and Thurston counties.
The 34-year-old Manos, of DuPont, was arrested yesterday at Lakewood City Hall, made an initial appearance the same day in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, and was released on his own recognizance. He is on administrative leave -- unpaid.
"It's disgusting and it makes me sick to my stomach," said Bret Farrar, the chief of police for the Lakewood Police Department. "I've been putting criminals in jail a long time. This is just another criminal that we're gonna throw in jail and that we're gonna prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."
For more than year, according to the complaint, The Seattle Times writes: "Manos funneled some of the donations into a bank account he set up in the name of LPIG, though apparently no one at the police-officers union or the Lakewood Officers Charity knew it existed."
Kevin Bigler, an Oregon police officer who owns Timberwolf Outdoor Products, imprinted knives for other police officers to buy in memory of the Lakewood Four, intending for the profits to go to the officers' charity. He sent the first knife he made, along with $5,000, to LPIG.
But according to the complaint, both the knife and the money wound up in Manos' pocket.
Court records say Manos' thievery was uncovered by a Lakewood cop, Jeremy Vahle, a union member who grew deeply suspicious that money was being stolen from the charity, which has collected $3.2 million on behalf of the dead police -- Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Gregory Richards.
The charity trust fund was set up to last 25 years, until the youngest child finished college. So far, some of the money has been used to pay for college tuitions for two of the children, private school for several others and computer for one.
Some of the money, too, for some big nights on the town in Las Vegas.