$18,000 embezzled from Garlic Festival

People clamor for free Christopher Ranch garlic after the garlic topping competition Saturday at the Garlic Festival.

Something stinks in the aftermath of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, and no, it’s not of garlic.

After auditing their profits, the Garlic Festival Association reported to police on Aug. 2 that more than $18,000 was stolen from a festival cash drawer during the weekend of the festival – from someone behind the ticket counter.

Brian Bowe, Garlic Festival director believes that cash was stolen from one of the two ticket booths during open hours of the festival, spread out over the three-day festival.

“We take several precautions to prevent this type of theft from occurring and we carefully account for all tickets sold and cash collected. In spite of this, someone behind the counter was able to covertly pocket the currency,” Bowe said in a written statement.

If the money was in fact stolen behind the counter during operating hours, then the thief is mostly likely a festival volunteer – but Bowe would not confirm that, or make any further comments about the alleged theft.

Gilroy Police are not currently investigating the theft, because of “higher priority” incidents in the city, such as the July 22 murder at the Sobrato Apartments – but Police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said that the department hopes to look into “this important matter” soon.

Gallacinao would not comment about specifics to the on-hold investigation, including whether or not Garlic Festival staff pointed to any suspects for the theft.

“We realize the importance of this, but it is a property related crime, and right now detectives are working on priority investigations involving crimes against people. We will investigate this important theft as soon as we are available,” Gallacinao said.

“We will soon determine who was responsible for the theft and hold them accountable for their actions,” he said.

The theft is in no way related to the 1,000 tickets that were stolen from the festival office before the event.

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