Puppet Showplace Theater announced yesterday that their “bank account had been fully depleted” after an alleged embezzlement from the 46-year-old Brookline cultural institution.

“The treasurer noticed some suspicious transactions after getting a call from their bank about a payment that couldn’t be processed,” Brookline Police Lt. Jen Paster says.

In an email last night, trustees explained, “On Oct. 7, the Board of Trustees of Puppet Showplace was informed of fiscal irregularities in its bank account. We soon learned that our fiscal controls had been circumvented and that Puppet Showplace’s bank account had been fully depleted. We quickly reported this matter to the Brookline Police Department for investigation, which is ongoing. We are working with legal counsel to understand the full impact on the organization and our options for attempting to recover the funds that were stolen from the organization.”

The alleged embezzlement was reported to Brookline police on the morning of Oct. 14. How much money is missing? Paster says detectives are “trying to get to the bottom of exactly that—how long it’s been going on and how much we’re talking about.”

“Based on these developments,” trustees said via email, “the board terminated the employment of the managing director.”

“We and our fellow trustees are working with the organization’s artistic director and dedicated staff and resident artists to evaluate what this incident means for our future programming. As we manage this crisis, we will review all of our fiscal operations and expect to institute additional policies and procedures to ensure we are adhering to best practices,” trustees wrote.

The theater has been closed for in-person performances since March for safety during the coronavirus pandemic and has switched to virtual shows. “We are devastated by this new crisis,” trustees said via email, “but we are hopeful that with the support of our loyal and caring community, our donors and grantors, we will be able to keep the theater moving ahead.”

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Categories: Performance Theater