STERLING, Colo. (CBS4) – The former Sterling Fire Department chief and his wife have been arrested on suspicion of theft.
Kurt Vogel, currently Greater Eagle Fire Protection District’s chief, and his wife Hope are accused of stealing over $120,000 in money, equipment and memorabilia from the Sterling Fire Department before leaving there in April.
District Attorney Brittny Lewton says city officials reported bookkeeping irregularities and missing fire department equipment after Vogel’s departure.
“It happened within a week of his departure, that there were questions from the new interim chief who said,’What is this?'” said Sterling City Manager Don Saling.
“We found some inconsistencies with some of our invoices and that was enough that we asked the district attorney’s office to take a look at it,” said Saling. “I think we’re all surprised. It’s not something you’d expect from a top level management person.”
The city released a statement saying it “will not tolerate any misconduct by any city or former city employee,” and that it has already strengthened its internal controls. They wrote the following:
We will continue to review our internal processes and enact additional measures to protect the city. Any misuse of City property is adverse to the values and commitment that we strive for as a City. We immediately brought our concerns to the attention of the District Attorney’s Office, have taken decisive actions on this matter, and we will continue to remain steadfast in our endeavors to provide the highest standards of public trust for our community.
“When you look at $120,000, still that’s a couple of pieces of equipment, a couple of employees, so it’s jot something to brush off,” said Saling.
After the chief’s farewell party in Sterling in April, several people posted to the fire department’s Facebook page their thanks for his service and congratulations for his new job. “You have done very well Kurt. Much deserved praise,” one person said.
In addition to the felony theft charge, Kurt Vogel also faces charges of attempting to Influence a public servant, official misconduct and forgery.
The Vogels are being transported from Eagle to Sterling to face the charges.
So far, there’s no reaction from the Vogels or their attorney on the charges.
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