Mar 19, 2013 3:29 PM by Michelle Walby

Former Pinal County fire chief arrested for stealing

PINAL COUNTY - The former acting fire chief in the town of Hayden is facing theft and trafficking stolen property charges.

37-year-old Charles Vega was arrested on February 20th.

In late December, Hayden Police contacted the Pinal County Sheriff's Office after money from an annual dance fundraiser for the town's volunteer fire department was discovered missing. Hayden Police told sheriff deputies they believed the theft had been done by a town employee.

During the investigation, Gila County Sheriff's Office was investigating a theft of property from the Asarco Mine in Kearny. It was discovered that Vega was a former employee of the Asarco Mine and one of the last people to have the stolen items.

At least four chainsaws worth $1,120 each were stolen. Deputies later learned the chainsaws were delivered to the Asarco Mine warehouse to Charles Vega. Deputies also say Vega tried to sell the chainsaw to replace the money he had stolen from the town fundraiser.

Vega finally confessed to deputies that he had stolen the chainsaw from the Asarco Mine to be able to replace the money he stole from the town fund.

The dance was a fundraiser hosted by the Town of Hayden for the volunteer fire department. They raised $850 which Vega said he spent on small items for the fire department and then used the rest to buy personal items for himself.

Vega has been released on his own recognizance.

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