PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – He was the post commander at the Highland VFW Post in Chippewa, Beaver County, and had been a member for more than a decade.
He was the one police would contact if there were problems at the post, but according to Chief Robert Berchtold, he was the problem.
“An individual that worked for and was a member of the Highland VFW was seen on video taking pull-tab tickets with X number of chances to win money,” said Chief Berchtold.
That individual is identified as 68-year-old Stanley Czarnecky of Brighton Township.
It appears fellow VFW officers suspected him all along after coming up short on ticket sales, so a camera was installed and no one was told about it.
Chief Berchtold says Czarnecky stole play-and-win strip tickets worth more than $26,000.
“Only two individuals had the key to that particular cabinet that housed the tickets,” Chief Berchtold said.
The surveillance video shows Czarnecky using that key to steal the tickets. It shows the suspect walking into the room, opening a locked metal cabinet, removing tickets and putting them in his pocket.
The thefts happened between 2009 and February of this year. Czarnecky told police he stole tickets on just two occasions, the times he is seen on video.
He had been a member of Post 5945 for more than a decade. Now, Czarnecky is facing more than 90 charges of theft.
He has a preliminary hearing later this month.
He is no longer a member of the VFW. He is not in jail, rather at home on his own recognizance.
When KDKA’s Brenda Waters called Czarnecky’s home Friday, a woman who identified herself as Czarnecky’s wife said neither one of them wanted to be interviewed.