Gary Dennis has been arrested and charged with nine felony counts that include theft by deception, forgery and the failure to make required deposits. Investigators say Dennis wrote checks to himself and kept the proceeds of various fund raising events while he was an officer of the Friendship Fire Company in Roaring Spring.
The missing money came to light during an audit that was done earlier this year. The 57 year old Dennis is a former chief and treasurer of the fire company. He was also well known in the local emergency service community from his work as a former director of the Blair County Emergency Management Agency.
State police say the Friendship Fire Company is currently out more than $10,000 in cash and $5600 in checks because Dennis allegedly diverted that money to his own use. Investigators say the money turned up missing earlier this year when a new group of officers took over the fire company and asked their local police chief for help in cleaning up their financial records.
On the basis of that audit, the state police were called in to take over the criminal investigation. They concluded a lack of financial oversight allowed the theft to go unnoticed for some time. Some of the people who support the fire department are concerned about these criminal charges. Similar feelings were expressed by authorities working on this case.
Dennis admits to taking about ten thousand dollars from the fire company for his own use according to the criminal complaint filed by the state police. He could not be reached for comment on Friday . A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for next Thursday.