Man accused of stealing money from Brookelyn Farthing fundraiser

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BEREA, Ky., (WKYT) Brookelyn Farthing's step-father Randall Walker says he believes the tragedy of his missing teenage girl has been sadly twisted into a way to steal people's money.

"You have people that are low then you have people that are just dirt,” he said.

Kentucky State Police trooper Robert Purdy says Randy Gross asked his coworkers at the Nacco factory in Berea to give him money to help find the missing 19-year-old.

He was arrested and charged with theft after police say the family didn't receive a penny.

According to Purdy, they don't know how long Gross was asking for money or how many people donated dollars.

Purdy says Gross ended up taking more than $260 before one of Farthing's family members, who also works at the Nacco factory figured out what was happening.

"Deceiving others into thinking they're donating money for a good cause and not following through with that is against the law. It's unfortunate that anyone would try to make money on someone else's loss," said Purdy.

Gross says he wasn't trying to do that.

He didn't want to talk on camera but he says he was thrown in jail before he could give the family the money.

He says it's still in his checking account and he'll give it to them if he's proven innocent.

Walker doubts that will happen.

"The people that gave that money were expecting it to go to bring Brooke home, they weren't expecting it to line his pockets or pay for his Christmas or his wants," said Walker.

He says cases, such as this one, have made his daughter’s disappearance even harder.

Even though she’s been missing for about seven months, he’s still full of hope because he believes she’ll be home again one day.

Gross has bonded out of jail. There's no word yet on when he will appear in court.

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