There has been another case of theft in the volunteer fire service, this time in West Virginia, and this time to the tune of $242,269.15. Stephen Wilson, 61, the treasurer of the Short Gap Volunteer Fire Department was arrested last Friday, August 12, 2011 by State Police.
Financial irregularities were first discovered approximately 6 months ago. After a series of meetings with the department’s board Wilson finally admitted to the theft, and pulled a handgun telling the board members he could not live with himself. Members were able to get Wilson to surrender the gun.
Wilson faces three charges: embezzlement, falsifying accounts, and wanton endangerment. According to my records there have been at least 72 cases of theft from volunteer fire companies since 2006 ranging from $10,000 to over $1 million. In each case the theft was committed by treasurers, presidents or fire chiefs.