Former Vista Pop Warner Treasurer Accused in $100K Theft

Rachel Owens was taken into custody at Guajome Park Academy where she works as a math teacher

A Vista woman was arrested Wednesday, accused of a theft that left the local Pop Warner program “crippled” organizers said.

Rachel Owens, 41, served as the treasurer for Vista Pop Warner Football and Cheer from October 2013 to November 2015.

Owens now faces 3 counts of identity theft and 22 counts of grand theft after San Diego County Sheriff’s detectives say Owens allegedly stole more than $100,000 from the accounts she managed.

Owens was arrested Wednesday morning and booked into the Vista Detention Facility on $300,000 bail. The status of her securing an attorney is unknown.

She was taken into custody at Guajome Park Academy where she works as a math teacher.

“She was not arrested in a classroom, she was not arrested in front of children,” said Lt. Greg Rylaarsdam with the Cyber Financial Crimes Unit. “Our design was to go there and do this as low-key as possible.”

The superintendent described Owens as a non-permanent teacher on probation. She is on administrative leave.

Rylaarsdam said it appears Owens moved money around between several bank accounts.

"We're trying to get money back if we can get money back," he added. "Anything that we could possibly recover would go to a good use."

Vista Pop Warner has had to reach out to the public to ask for donations to survive what it described as a “huge misappropriation of funds at the hands of a former board member.”

A statement from the youth football league claims, "The loss of funds has crippled the organization."

The league believes the theft began in March 2014 and continued through late Fall 2015.

In order to continue operations, VPW said it needs donations to pay back creditors owed.

Rylaarsdam said the league cooperation and their records helped detectives make an arrest in such a short amount of time.  

He added that detectives were looking into the possibilty that there may be other victims.

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