ST. LOUIS — A previous St. Louis Zoo employee is facing rates in two counties of thieving thousands from a specialist association of zookeepers.
Miranda M. Durfor, 36, of the first block of Scenic Cove Lane in St. Charles, was billed this week in St. Charles County Circuit Court with five counts of thieving. Prices say she served as a nearby treasurer for the American Association of Zoo Keepers, a Tucson, Arizona-based team and stole a lot more than $19,000 from the organization’s lender accounts in St. Charles and Ferguson involving 2019 and 2021.
Durfor’s lawyer explained she pleaded not guilty. He declined more comment.
A zoo spokesman claimed Durfor commenced as a section-time employee in 2009 and that she became a full-time group ticketing supervisor on Jan. 1, 2020. Her very last working day was Dec. 20.
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Costs submitted in both of those counties say she made unauthorized funds withdrawals from the group’s bank account at at least two different financial institutions. St. Louis County prosecutors filed a felony theft cost towards Durfor on March 10.
Durfor was fired immediately after she admitted to the St. Louis Zoo’s protection director that she took the organization’s cash, expenses explained.
Ed Hansen, chief government officer of the AAZK, stated the group has 116 chapters at zoos throughout the continent. He stated he believes Durfor was treasurer for the St. Louis chapter and that the chapter learned the thefts when new chapter officers took about.
He reported thefts from AAZK chapters because he joined the corporation in 1994 have been rare and that this is potentially the 3rd time a person has stolen chapter cash. But never, he explained, “to this magnitude.”
Thieving from a conservation team such as AAZK is “disturbing,” he claimed.
“You’re speaking about teams of animal keepers, specially in this instance at the St. Louis Zoo who are knocking by themselves out performing fundraising for conservation,” Hanson claimed. “And it’s form of a slap in their facial area and the rest of our memberships as well when you’re working together as a group to conserve animals and then another person tampers with that funds.”
According to the St. Louis Zoo’s website, the AAZK has a 19-12 months-aged St. Louis chapter “made up of zookeepers, staff, docents and volunteers devoted to professional treatment and conservation.” The web-site states that when the group is not formally element of the zoo, the group’s “activities and initiatives are entirely endorsed by the zoo.”