Tennessee Firefighter Indicted for Theft

A firefighter with the Hickerson Station Volunteer Fire Department has been indicted with stealing from the department. Kenneth Spry is charged with a single count of stealing in excess of $2500.

He is accused of pocketing $3,201 from fundraiser collections and using the department’s debit card to put $105.78 of fuel in his personal vehicle. Spry was serving as the fire department’s treasurer at the time.

The thefts reportedly occurred in 2017-2018 time frame, and coincide with several questionable fire department disbursements including ATM withdrawals and debit card charges totaling $2,524.07. An extensive investigation was conducted by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office. Because it was not clear who made the $2,524.07 in charges or whether they were legitimate, they were not included in Spry’s indictment. He resigned as treasurer in 2018.

Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower was quoted by The Tullahoma News as saying:

  • “Our investigators identified several shortcomings in the way the fire department handled its finances.”
  • “We have recommended the department improve its controls by taking steps such as requiring two signatures on checks, requiring and retaining documentation for disbursements, and carefully reviewing bank statements.”

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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