A former assistant fire chief with Union Fire Company faces charges after police say he stole money from both Union and Shiremanstown fire companies this year.
Jeremiah C. Whistler, 31, of Pearland, Texas, was charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, criminal use of communication facility and unlawful use of a computer.
Carlisle Police said they issued a warrant for Whistler, who surrendered to police Wednesday. He was released on unsecured bail, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for at 1 p.m. Jan. 10 in front of Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Birbeck.
The charges stem from an investigation that started on June 28 when police were contacted by Union Fire Company regarding a co-raffle they were having with Washington Fire Company in Mechanicsburg. Union officials were prompted to do an audit of their raffle after trustees discovered that the camera system with view to a locked closet with the raffle money was turned off between May 7 and May 15, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
Court documents said Union officials discovered that while they should have had $44,650 from the 893 tickets sold up to June 28, the department was missing $8,633.89.
The raffle money could be accessed by the Union president and treasurer, as well as the 15 drivers (two full-time and 13 part-time) for Union who share a key. The affidavit said that only “line officers,” including the captain, chief and assistant chief, have access to the camera room.
Police interviewed everyone with access to the driver’s closet with the raffle money, and among them was Whistler, who, at the time, worked part-time for Union as a driver. He was employed with Union since 2012 or 2013 and was the assistant fire chief.
According to the affidavit, Whistler claimed he deposited personal checks for the raffle and wrote checks from his bank account in the same amount of Union.
In late September, police served a search warrant on Whistler’s bank records at Belco Community Credit Union for the time period covering the raffle event, from March 1 to July 29, and found several anomalies, according to court documents. Police found several deposits of varying amounts that were made at Members 1st ATMs within Carlisle.
A search warrant served to Members 1st discovered that the deposits were cash. There was a total of $3,880 in cash deposits, according to court documents.
Police contacted those who purchased tickets from Whistler, and of the 50 tickets reportedly sold, 10 were paid via check and the rest with cash. Police said Whistler should have turned in $2,500 for the raffle, but only turned in $1,500.
During the investigation, police also discovered two check deposits from Shiremanstown Fireman’s Relief Association.
The Shiremanstown president and chief confirmed they gave Whistler permission to deposit a $3,500 check in March from the association account for the purchase of new fire gear, but they did not receive an invoice for it, according to the affidavit. The two had contacted Whistler on Oct. 31 about the check, and Whistler told them he intended to return the money when he returned to the area.
Neither the president nor the chief had any knowledge of a second check worth $2,500 that had been deposited into Whistler’s account on April 20. Police said the total loss for Shiremanstown was $5,800.
The total loss for both fire companies was $14,433.89, according to court documents.
Whistler previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of theft by unlawful taking for a December 2007 incident that involved Empire Friendship Fire Company. The matter was closed in district court and Whistler paid court costs and restitution of about $90.
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A former Union Fire Department assistant fire chief with a Texas address is accused of stealing $14,000 from the Carlisle fire company and other sources.
Carlisle Police said Jeremiah C. Whistler, 31, of Pearland, Texas, has been charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, criminal use of communication facility and unlawful use of computer and other computer crimes.
Police said the Union Fire Department, 35 W. Louther St., Carlisle, reported on June 28 that money was missing from raffle ticket funds for an event scheduled for July. An audit of the raffle event funds revealed that over $8,600 was missing.
An investigation led to the discovery of thefts totaling $14,000, police said.
A warrant was issued for Whistler, who surrendered to police on Wednesday. He was released on unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. with Magisterial District Justice Jonathan R. Birbeck.
Whistler previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of theft by unlawful taking for a December 2007 incident that involved Empire Friendship Fire Co. The matter was closed in district court and Whistler paid court costs and restitution of about $90.