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Past SOU official arrested on aggravated theft charges

ASHLAND — A former Southern Oregon University official was arrested today on felony theft charges for allegedly embezzling about $48,000 from SOU and defrauding an Ashland bank out of almost $13,000.

William Kolacek, 35, turned himself in at the Ashland Police Department today and was taken into custody on four counts of aggravated first-degree theft.

Three of the counts allege individual thefts from the university, each one of at least $10,000, police said. The fourth count alleges the defrauding of a U.S. Bank branch in Ashland of the cash, police said.

The two cases were unrelated, Ashland police detective Bon Stewart said.

Stewart declined to reveal Kolacek's motive for the thefts nor where the money went, other than to say that the money "is not recoverable."

Kolacek was the director of residential life at SOU. He resigned early this month after a routine audit turned up unauthorized purchases, SOU officials said. He was hired at the university in July after a criminal background and reference check.

Kolacek was lodged at the Jackson County Jail, where he was being held Monday in lieu of $40,000 bail.

— Mark Freeman