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Tracy Bass

RINGGOLD, Ga. — Police arrested a Ringgold city clerk Tuesday on charges he stole money from the city and shredded documents to cover his trail.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged 52-year-old Tracy Alan Bass with theft, forgery, interference with government property and tampering with evidence. Bass, who left the Catoosa County Jail on Tuesday on a $20,000 bond, did not answer the door at his listed address Wednesday afternoon.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Bass skimmed more than $1,500 from the city by going into Ringgold's computer citation tracking system and altering the amount of money people paid the court, apparently giving him the chance to take away the excess money.

The affidavit says Bass did this from July 2013 through last month, but GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joe Montgomery said investigators are not sure how long the alleged fraud occurred. He said investigators will perform an audit to see how much money is missing.

Montgomery said people would pay fines and bonds in Ringgold City Court, and the money would flow to Bass' office because he was the clerk. Bass was then supposed to tally the money and put it in the city's computer system.

Other city employees noticed money was missing.

"Through some of the checks and balances in the system," Montgomery said, "they realized from point A to point C, in between something was missing."

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Bass tried to cover up the crime on Tuesday. Police said he shredded receipts, driver's license information and citation numbers that showed cash bonds people paid the city.

The GBI began investigating the case Dec. 3 at the request of Ringgold police and the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney's office.

City Manager Dan Wright said Bass worked for Ringgold for 12 years. He also lost an election for a Fort Oglethorpe City Council seat in November.

District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin did not return multiple calls and emails seeking comment on the case. Ringgold Police Department Chief Dan Bilbrey declined to discuss the case.

"I don't have any comments for you," he said, when asked about Bass' arrest.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6476.

An earlier version of this story misstated that Bass unsuccessfully ran for Ward 2 of Ringgold's City Council. He ran for the Ward 2 seat on the Fort Oglethorpe City Council.

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