Hubbard firefighter accused of faking calls, pocketing cash
A volunteer firefighter in Hubbard is charged with theft in office and tampering with records after police say he racked up over $10,000 in payments for fire calls he did not go out on.
A volunteer firefighter in Hubbard is charged with theft in office and tampering with records after police say he racked up payments for fire calls he did not go out on.
Richard Wittkugle is accused of using his position as treasurer for the Eagle Joint Fire District, which covers Hubbard city and township, to secure payments for fire calls.
Detective Michael Banic of the Hubbard Police Department tells 21 News police were asked to investigate after the fire chief noticed irregularities in the district's payroll.
That investigation ultimately led to a search warrant being executed at Wittkugle's home, where fire department records were seized.
Banic said part of Wittkugle's duties included managing the call logs for the fire department. Volunteer firefighters are paid $15 per call and Banic said it appears Wittkugle was doctoring records in order to be paid for calls he never went out on.
Banic said the total amount found to have been misappropriated added up to $10,215. Not all of that money went to Wittkugle, though, because investigators believe he may have also altered payroll for other firefighters in an effort to obscure his own theft.
Eagle Joint Fire District Fire Chief Ron Stanish said he cannot comment on the ongoing investigation, but said Wittkugle was placed on paid administrative leave in January when the investigation began and was placed on unpaid leave as of last Friday, July 13.
It will be up to trustees to decide if they will pursue restitution.
Wittkugle was just shy of his 20-year anniversary on with the department.