Police investigating Garlic Festival embezzlement

Gilroy Garlic Festival Association members perform a flash mob dance to the song Footloose at the amphitheater stage Saturday.

The $18,000 cash theft from the Garlic Festival is in fact being investigated by police, said Gilroy Police Chief Denise Turner despite the Gilroy Police Department indicating last week that they were not.

Chalking it up to a department miscommunication, Turner said that the Garlic Festival embezzlement has been a “high priority” for the GPD since they were first made aware of it on Aug. 3, and has been assigned by Cpl. Cherie Somavia.

“(Somavia) knows all the people who had access to the funds and is looking at all the accounting details to point to a lead,” Turner said.

Police reports indicate that the cash was taken by someone behind the booth during operating hours of the Garlic Festival over the course of the three-day weekend.

Garlic Festival staff did not want to comment on the theft, a tight-lipped 2012 Garlic Festival President Hugh Davis only mentioning that the incident “disgusts” him.

Turner said that Somavia, who was out of the office on Monday, has made this case her top priority.

“Obviously we take that case very seriously,” Turner said. “The Garlic Festival is a big thing in our community, and the whoever stole this money stole directly from our local charities and organizations the Garlic Festival supports.”

Police have said that the theft is not connected to the 1,000 tickets that were stolen from the festival’s association prior to the event. Police have not made any arrests in connection with the ticket theft.