Transit manager held in theft of bus fares reports the general manager of the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority, Haverhill, MA, has been arrested in the theft of bus fares from a deposit vault, according to the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.

John Whittaker, 47, of Methuen was arrested yesterday at his Haverhill office and charged with one count of larceny over $250, Coakley’s office said. He pleaded not guilty in Haverhill District Court and was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail, the statement said. He is due back in court July 8 for a pretrial conference.

Prosecutors allege Whittaker stole a large amount of money from bus fare collections over a period of several months. Yesterday’s statement did not detail the exact amount he is accused of stealing or the time period of the alleged theft. A spokeswoman for Coakley could not immediately be reached for comment. Authorities began investigating Whittaker after weekly deposits were unaccounted for, the statement said.

“We allege that over a period of several months, Mr. Whittaker abused his position of authority to steal money from the MVRTA,” Coakley said. “This resulted in a significant loss of public money,’’

The authority began operating in 1976 in Haverhill and now offers bus and other transportation services to 12 more communities, including Lawrence, Andover, and Newburyport.