MARIETTA, GA -- The Wheeler High School cheerleading team learned a tough lesson about life. The team treasurer for the past two years was arrested and accused of stealing all the money they raised to compete.
Patti Hicks Rose, age 49, was the cheerleader's treasurer from January 2008 until February 2010 when she left to get married, according to Cobb County Campus Police. She was charged with theft by deception. Officer Randy Rogers said Rose wrote herself 66 checks worth more than $27,000. "The checks that were written in her name or cash didn't go to the Wheeler cheer association," Officer Rogers said.
"It's our entire yearly budget," said Alex Marsh who coaches the cheerleading squad. "That's really all the money we make in a year." Marsh said when school started in August the team was $4,000 in the hole. "I was shocked," he said. "I had suspicions that something was up but I had no idea that it was going to be as widespread as it was."
The good news is that the squad is making it to competitions this year because of some very aggressive fundraising. But Marsh said they have had to make some sacrifices. "We found out that we couldn't afford uniforms," he said. "There are whole teams that are cheering in uniforms that are from five or six years ago."
Police said Patti Hicks Rose's own daughter was on the team and graduated last year. Rose turned herself into the Cobb County Sheriff Office on Wednesday and was released on a $30,000 bond.