PA Chief Gets Probation and Restitution for Theft

A former Pennsylvania fire chief has been given 12 months of probation and must make full restitution for stealing $4,359 from his fire department.

William “Bubba” Benecke, who served as fire chief for the Sharon Hill Fire Company, was able to qualify for the state’s “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition” program because he was a “non-violent first offender”. According to the Daily Times, Benecke has already made restitution for the funds he stole.

The Daily Times quoted from a joint statement issued by Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland and Sharon Hill Police Chief Richard Herron Jr. that “Mr. Benecke knowingly stole from the taxpayers of Sharon Hill Borough to pay for his own personal expenses, breaching the trust of the very individuals he was appointed to serve and taking advantage of his position of authority”.

Benecke reportedly used fire company credit/debit cards to make 15 cash withdrawals, and five unauthorized purchases. More on the story.

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.
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