NH Firefighter Refuses To Return FD Equipment

Today’s burning question: I am a call firefighter, but because of a medical condition I can no longer respond to runs. The fire department has terminated me and demanded I return the department’s gear and equipment. I don’t think they have the right to do that, so I’m keeping the gear. What can they do to me, break into my house and steal it back?

Answer: No, but they might send the police over for a chat because you may very well be guilty of theft. And by the way, if you happen to have a controlled substance such as marijuana when the police stop by, it probably won’t help your case.

Former Epping, NH firefighter Robert Locascio, 54, is facing two counts of receiving stolen property, and one count of possession of a controlled substance following his arrest in October.  

Locascio was ordered to return fire department equipment following his termination. When he refused, police were asked to intervene and went to his house. Locascio was arrested and during a search, police found a small quantity of marijuana. He remains free on personal recognizance and was scheduled to be arraigned last Friday. The arraignment has been postponed til December 16, 2011.

Incidentally, a person who legally comes into possession of someone else’s property and subsequently takes control of it for their own purposes (refuses to return it when the lawful owner demands) commits embezzlement. Embezzlement is a type of larceny offense, as is obtaining money under false pretenses, larceny by trick, and certain types of fraud. However, police often find it easier to prove a lesser charge, such as possession of stolen property.

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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