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Widow in Sun-drop shooting charged with embezzlement

The wife of a man who was killed in June at Sun-drop Bottling Co. was arrested Friday on five counts of embezzlement.

Tressy Hackett Noles, 43, was charged in connection with an embezzlement from Spectrum Sales in Concord, where she worked until February, police said. A Concord police investigation showed more than $60,000 was embezzled from 2004 to 2008.

On June 13, Darrell Noles, 44, was applying for a job at the Sun-drop plant when he was shot to death, along with longtime Sun-drop employee Donna Barnhardt, 59.

Concord police Chief Merl Hamilton said Friday his department had no information to indicate the embezzlement allegations were connected to the shootings.

“We continue to follow up on any information,” he said. “We are not eliminating any scenario until we sift through whatever leads and information we have.”

Tressy Noles has no criminal record in North Carolina. After being charged, she was released on her written promise to appear in court.

She worked at Spectrum for about 13 years and had an administrative position before leaving in February. The company noticed financial irregularities, and in April, the owner called police, Hamilton said.

Detectives had nearly completed their investigation of the alleged embezzlement when the double homicide took place. The police department delayed serving the warrants on Tressy Noles out of respect for grieving family members, Hamilton said.

But “we felt like we had obligations not only to the Noles family, but to the victim in the embezzlement and the rest of the community.”

Investigators have continued to work on the double homicide “around the clock,” he said. Based on descriptions, officers have searched for a black man in his 20s, and 5 feet 5 inches to 5-10, with a slim build and shoulder-length dreadlocks. He was wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt and carried something when he left the building, officers said.

The department has received hundreds of calls and leads and has about 30 investigators on the case.

Fliers have been posted including one offering a $50,000 reward by Sun-drop owner John King and others in the community.

“I feel like we are making progress,” Hamilton said of the murder investigation. “Unfortunately complicated homicide cases take a while to resolve.” Staff researcher Maria David contributed.