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Police chief, other city officials in small Iowa town face charges

Armstrong mayor, chief, two others arrested

Craig Merrill
Craig Merrill

ARMSTRONG, Iowa — The mayor, police chief and current and former city clerk of a small Iowa town have been charged with a string of felonies and misdemeanors after a multiyear investigation uncovered embezzlement and other abuses, authorities say.

The Emmett County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday in a news release that the Iowa Attorney General’s Office filed the charges against Armstrong Mayor Greg Buum, Police Chief Craig Merrill, City Clerk Tracie Lang and former City Clerk Connie Thackery on Thursday.

The sheriff’s office said state law enforcement and financial officials assisted in the investigation, which uncovered “misappropriation of city funds, the presentation of fraudulent public records, deploying a Taser against a civilian in exchange for cash, and falsification of ledgers to conceal embezzlement.”

Everyone but Merrill, the police chief, was arrested Friday. Bond is set at $67,000 for Buum, $44,000 for Lang and $33,000 for Thackery.

Merrill was arrested Saturday in Martin County, Minn., just over the border from the town where he was employed.

Merrill is awaiting extradition to Iowa to face the charges.

Armstrong has about 880 residents and is 135 miles north of Des Moines.

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