Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White will be the first to say that it’s more important to handle a case right than it is to handle a case fast.
But citizens do appreciate speed, particularly when there’s potential danger in the air.
By all indications, Chief White’s team worked both speedily and professionally over a recent five-day period, culminating in the arrest of a well-known local woman suspected of theft on a broad scale, and possibly other crimes. Here’s a rough sketch of the timeline:
• The Coeur d’Alene Police Department was handed the Lori Isenberg case of suspected embezzlement last Wednesday shortly before noon. Hints of possible criminal activity hadn’t been reported to law enforcement for several weeks, so the PD’s investigation was well behind before it even got started.
• By Friday afternoon, police had gotten a warrant and searched Isenberg’s home in Cougar Gulch. The search took several hours and included the Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office.
• By Monday afternoon, police had enough evidence to book Isenberg in Kootenai County Jail on 40 counts of forgery and one count of grand theft.
Isenberg is accused of embezzling nearly half a million dollars from a local nonprofit whose mission is “To build strong communities by increasing access to decent and affordable homes for low to moderate income individuals and/or families.” Because North Idaho Housing Coalition also receives funding from taxpayers, the alleged crime casts a larger net over victims — not just donors but taxpayers, too.
While acknowledging that Isenberg is innocent until proven guilty, her arrest for allegedly stealing half a million dollars should bring into increased focus the puzzling disappearance of her husband, Larry. According to Lori, Larry fell into frigid Lake Coeur d’Alene and vanished just a few hours after a Press front-page story revealed the housing coalition’s audit under suspicious circumstances. The Sheriff’s Office remains in charge of the missing person investigation. As of this writing, Larry Isenberg’s body had not been found.
The mystery is far from clear, but for now citizens can appreciate the top priority, massive effort mobilized by Chief White and his department in their investigation. This looks like professional police work at its best.