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Trial set for Eagle firefighter

WARREN — A trial is scheduled for a lieutenant with the Eagle Joint Fire District accused of misappropriating $10,125 of the district’s funds, including $2,160 in overpayments to himself.

Richard Wittkugle, 54, Hillview Drive, Hubbard, is charged with theft in office, tampering with evidence and grand theft, all felonies.

He plead-ed not guilty to the charges, which arose after discrepancies in the district’s books were brought to the attention of police in January. Wittkugle was responsible for handling the reporting of fire calls for the district, according to police.

At a pretrial hearing Wednesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, a jury trial date was scheduled for July 22, with a pretial July 10, according to court records.

A police report states between Nov. 1, 2015, and Oct. 31, 2016, there was $5,010 misappropriated from a comparison of original fire call records and a spreadsheet kept by Wittkugle, who received $915 of those funds.

From Nov. 1, 2016, to Oct. 31, 2017, $5,205 more was found misappropriated with $4,800 from the district and $405 from individual firefighters who were not paid for calls, the report states. Wittkugle received $1,245, according to the report.

Police believe calls were added to other firefighters to disguise increases to Wittkugle’s attendance, the report states. The district provides firefighting services for Hubbard city and township. The volunteer firefighters are paid $15 per call and receive a check once per year.

It is unclear if Wittkugle is still with the fire district. The district’s website lists him as a “current” firefighter since 1998. A message left with the fire district was not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.

Eagle Joint Fire District Chief Ron Stanish said he had no comment on Wittkugle’s employment status at a meeting Wednesday.

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