No embezzlement charges will be filed against Dustin K. Maze, the former Washington County sheriff's deputy and Dunham Township Volunteer Fire Department chief, who was arrested in August on a charge of breaking and entering, according to current fire chief Ernie Hoschar at a press conference Wednesday.
"We have found absolutely no evidence of embezzlement on the part of Dustin Maze or anyone else involved in the recent incident," said Hoschar.
However, the department is pursuing a completely separate incident of suspected embezzlement, perpetrated around July and August of 2011, said Hoschar.
"We have ample evidence to believe that this was a true case of embezzlement," he said.
Though refusing to name the suspect, the department confirmed he or she stole $2,400, for which they are currently seeking reimbursement.
"If necessary, we will pursue legal action to recover those funds," said Hoschar.
The department receives much of its funding through an annual contract with Dunham Township to provide them with fire and secondary emergency medical services.
"We operate on a very meager $35,000 a year and can ill afford to give up seven percent of our entire budget," said Hoschar in reference to the stolen funds.
The department's budget is one of the smallest in the county, he said.
Though the fire department is not pursuing charges against Maze, his arrest led to his resignation from the fire department as well as his termination from the sheriff's office. Two other fire department members arrested for the same breaking and entering incident, Brent M. Maze and Anthony E. Cronin, either resigned or were suspended from the fire department.
The arrests prompted an in depth review of the finances at the fire department, where it had come to light that Maze had misused a department gas card several years prior.
However, the misuse with Maze merely involved a one time incident when he used the department's fuel card to fill his personal vehicle after a run one night. Maze repaid those funds the next day, said Hoschar.
"He should not have done it, but it was not a cardinal sin," said Hoschar.
Hoschar said that he is taking steps to avoid future problems with the department's two fuel cards, which he keeps himself. In the past, the fuel cards have been kept a number of places, such as in department vehicles or in the fire department itself.
"I'd like to take the president, and myself, and the treasurer and a couple random department members, and set up a group to review the funds," said Hoschar.
There has been some suggestions that the arrested Dunham firefighters would lead to the fire department disbanding. However, Hoschar assured the public that this claims are grossly untrue.
"Everybody can rest assured that we still have qualifies personnel to respond to whatever the situation might be," said Hoschar.
That being said, the department is always looking for new volunteers, whether it involve firefighting or helping in some other fashion. Interested parties can contact Hoschar at 740-678-2985 or stop by the fire house between 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. any Thursday evening.
Hoschar also encouraged citizens to visit the DTVFD at the Barlow Fair Sept. 27-30, where they will be serving their traditional homemade chicken and noodles to raise funds.