Bessie Smith Officials Said They Recovered "A Significant Portion" Of Stolen Bessie Smith Strut Funds

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bessie Smith Cultural Center officials said Tuesday they recovered "a significant portion" of some $60,000 in proceeds from the Bessie Smith Strut.

Police said Torrey Lamar Hines, who worked at the Bessie Smith Hall, has confessed to the crime.

The money was taken from the center the night or early morning after the June 10 event.

Bessie Smith officials said, "On behalf of the board of directors and the staff of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, we thank the Chattanooga Police Department for all of their diligent work in bringing this suspect to justice.

This has been a very unfortunate occurrence for our community and an even more strenuous time for our staff, as we collectively look for ways to raise team morale and press forward in our mission in providing resources that enrich the cultural life of all Chattanoogans through renowned artistic exhibits, high quality musical events and performances such as the Strut, and historical educational and cultural programs.

"Please note, that Torrey Lamar Hines was not an employee of the Bessie Smith Cultural but a contractor who provided custodial services and assisted the facility with special events. We will not be making any additional statements or on air comments beyond this press release, as the investigation by the police is still ongoing with more information to be released at a later date. However, we are thrilled to have recovered a significant portion of the stolen money. We are also implementing additional precautionary measures to assure that this does not happen again.

"We would like to thank the Chattanooga community again for your support of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and the Bessie Smith Strut. We have been faced with challenges in the years past, but we have persevered in bringing this community one of the region’s safest, most diverse and well attended family oriented music events that has become an unforgettable Chattanooga tradition for generations to come. To learn more about how you can support “The Bessie” or even become a patron member of the museum, please visit our website at"



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