PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The former president of a local fire department is charged with stealing thousands of dollars from the organization.
He said in court Monday, he’s sorry. But the fire chief says they were betrayed.
When asked if he feels badly, Chester Yurkovic said, “Yeah, that I’m charged, but I have nothing to say.”
Yurkovic faced a magistrate Monday for reportedly stealing more than $5,700 from the Imperial Volunteer Fire Department. According to the criminal complaint, Yurkovic stole cash from fundraising events, like a boot drive, hoagie sale and area parades.
The criminal complaint also says Yurkovic used the fire department’s Monday Bingo Night as a way to pocket cash.
“We were hurt, we trusted the guy,” said current Fire Chief Bob Bradburn.
Bradburn says he couldn’t believe it when he figured out what his fellow firefighter, who was chief before him, was doing. Police say Yurkovic tried to cover his tracks by saving community donation checks to make up the difference of the cash he was stealing when he made deposits to the fire company’s bank account.
“We don’t want the community to worry about the funds that they give us on fund drives,” Bradburn said. “We caught the issue and acted on it immediately.”
The department set up a sting at the beginning of 2013 and terminated the 16-year company veteran on the spot. Authorities say they were able to track Yurkovic’s theft for two years. The Imperial VFD says it’s since changed its method of accounting, ensuring something like this doesn’t happen again.
“We move forward,” Bradburn said. “Wait to see what the courts bring out and we’re gonna go ahead and we’re building a new building soon and every time the fire whistle goes off, we come running.”