Pa. chief charged in theft of $25K+ from relief association
Gregg Township Chief Darin Bressler first told police he made 18 withdrawals and put the funds toward a fire engine but later admitted to paying off his bills
By Keely Doll
Centre Daily Times
SPRING MILLS, Pa. — Gregg Township Fire Company's chief was charged Monday with taking $25,910 from the company's relief association.
Chief Darin Bressler was charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition and receiving stolen property by the Centre County District Attorney's Office. According to the charging documents, Bressler took a total of $25,910 in cash withdrawals from the Gregg Township Fireman Relief Association checking and savings accounts. The 18 withdrawals were made between March 14, 2019, and Nov. 11, 2020.
In August the DA received a referral from the state auditor general after an audit of the association that covered January 2017 to December 2021.
The auditor made eight findings, two of which related to potential criminal activity, according to the charging documents. The two findings noted "undocumented expenditures and unknown withdrawals" from the association's accounts, the charging documents state.
Bressler was given multiple opportunities to provide documents but failed to do so, prompting the auditor to contact the bank directly for the information. State law requires two signatures to withdraw money from the relief association's account but the withdrawals only contained Bressler's signature.
Bressler was interviewed by a detective on Oct. 17 and admitted to making 18 cash withdrawals but said he had given the money to a former fire company member to purchase a new fire engine. Bressler did not provide the former fire company member's name or where the account was but said he could get the money back.
After failing to return the money by an Oct. 19 deadline, Bressler told authorities on Oct. 20 that he had spent it. He made a formal statement at the DA's office on Oct. 24, admitting to using the money to pay off bills and credit cards, according to the documents filed by the DA.
The fire company did not return requests for comment Monday.
Bressler's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 16. A defense lawyer was not listed. Bressler was arraigned by District Judge Gregory Koehle and released on $25,000 unsecured bail.
This story was originally published October 31, 2022 5:15 PM.
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