CARNEGIE, Pa. (KDKA) – The former chief of the East Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department is facing felony charges for allegedly stealing more than $84,000 from the department.

From dinners at Applebee’s, to a Royal Caribbean cruise, the former fire chief now faces 10 felony charges for alleged fraud and forgery.

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Investigators say one member of the department, Mitchell Schrager, alerted the Scott Township Police to the alleged fraud. He told police he’d learned of credit card statements that appeared to have unauthorized transactions.

Schrager told investigators when Kauer was confronted he said he had the credit card attached to his phone and he used the wrong card when he was making purchases. Investigators said the suspect also said that his credit card company must have double charged him.

Schrager is now the acting fire chief and Kauer was relieved of his duties, pending the investigation.

Kauer allegedly used the department’s money for trips to GetGo, meals at TGI Fridays, car payments and several monthly rent payments totaling $1,300 a piece. Investigators also allege he used thousands of dollars worth of stolen money to pay the “hand money” for the purchase of his Bethel Park home in 2017.

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KDKA’s Meghan Schiller approached Kauer at his Bethel Park home. When Kauer saw our news car, he stopped working in the front yard and walked into the garage.

He said he had an attorney, but the “comment would be no comment.” When asked if he wanted to say anything or explain the charges, he again said “no comment.”

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office accuses Kauer of stealing more than $84,000 from the East Carnegie Fire Department and another $5,0000 from the Scott Township Fire District.

Detectives say Kauer used the department’s credit card 333 times, allegedly stealing about $26,000 for himself. He’s also accused of requesting 71 checks for a total of $58,929 and forging his signature on 25 of them. They also say he made at least 11 deposits into his personal account when it had a negative balance.

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Investigators said Kauer surrendered without incident and did not get booked into the Allegheny Jail. He’s expected to go before the judge in late May.

Meghan Schiller