Not Again: Volunteer Theft and 1st Amendment Violation Caught on Tape

Two New York cases are in the news today, both of which raise the same frustrated response: not again!

In Charlton, New York, the treasurer of a volunteer fire department is accused of stealing between $400,000 and $500,000. Virginia DeCapria, 50, who served as treasurer of the Charlton Volunteer Fire Department was charged with grand larceny and several related charges for writing checks totaling nearly a half-million dollars to herself.

DeCapria’s  husband Dean served as the Charlton fire chief and she was secretary and treasurer from 2005 until January 2011.

The department’s attorney, Terry Hannigan, was quoted as saying “Since we became aware of this situation, the board has completely revised the procedures that they use to monitor expeditures and purchases.” Incidentally, Terry is a firefighter-lawyer and we did a mock trial together a few years back.

Thus far Chief DeCapria has not been implicated. More on the story.

In Suffolk County, an EMS officer was filmed trying to wrestle a video camera out of the hands of a newsman. Dave Statter is all over this one – but it leaves me wondering – how do we get the word out about this kind of non-sense. The law could not be more clear. We have no right to interfere with people taking photos at incidents scenes. Worry about the incident and forget about the cameras!!!!

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

Check Also

Palm Beach County Social Media Policy and Discipline Upheld

A lawsuit challenging the validity of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue’s social media policy, together with the discipline imposed on two captains, has been dismissed for the second time. Captain AJ O’Laughlin and Captain Crystal Little filed suit in state court last year claiming their social media-related discipline should be overturned, and that the social media policy violated the First Amendment.

Texas Firefighter Charged In Connection With Death of Colleague

A Texas firefighter has been charged with murder following the death of another member of his department at a campground in Pueblo County, Colorado. Evan Gaw, a firefighter/EMT with Odessa Fire Rescue, has been arrested and charged in connection with the shooting death of Michael Mack Wednesday evening.