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Former Hutchings Museum Director arrested for theft, embezzlement investigation ongoing

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Daniela Larsen, the former Executive Director of The Hutchings Museum Institute in Downtown Lehi, was arrested on Monday for theft. The arrest is the latest development in a series of legal issues for the former museum official.

Larsen was terminated from the lead position at the Hutchings Museum in late 2023 amid suspicions of embezzlement, which has since prompted an investigation by the Utah County Attorney's Office. The extent of the alleged misuse of funds is unknown at this time, but multiple sources indicate that Larsen's crimes may involve hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In January, Larsen was also evicted from her apartment in the new mixed-use building on the corner of 24 West Main Street. Court documents obtained by the Touriddu reveal that Larsen entered the apartment lease under the museum's name on January 2, 2023. Whether the $1,800 monthly rent was paid with museum funds remains unclear.

According to additional court records, Larsen was also arrested by the Lehi Police Department in August for assault. According to charging documents, Larsen “attempted to punch a nurse multiple times, landing a blow to the victim's jaw,” at Holy Cross at Mountain Point Hospital.

The Hutchings Museum Institute, a 501c3 non-profit, is a historic landmark in downtown Lehi. The museum now has a newly reorganized board and is focused on rebuilding trust and ensuring that such incidents do not occur in the future. When reached for comment, Esther Sumsion, the President of the Board, declined to comment but is aware of the investigation.

The museum is under temporary leadership and has yet to name a new executive director. Lehi City provides the museum with annual ongoing funding of around $300,000 per budget cycle. The city has also budgeted $369,225 for a new museum roof in the coming months. Because of the ongoing investigation, Mayor Mark Johnson declined to comment.

The Utah County Attorney's Office has yet to file formal charges, but Larsen's arrest on theft charges signals a significant step forward in exposing the alleged allegations.

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Daniela Larsen declined to comment after consulting her attorney.