Tarentum constable charged with theft
A Tarentum constable has been charged with falsifying arrest warrants to collect fees.
Timothy Dzugan, 49, of 1108 W. 11th Ave. faces several counts filed by Allegheny County detectives.
One count each of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and unsworn falsification to authorities were filed Monday in Pittsburgh Municipal Court.
Constables, who are elected officials, are paid a fee for each arrest warrant they serve.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed with the charges, in July 2012 Dzugan submitted 150 warrants to Allegheny County for payment but only three appeared to be valid. The rest of the warrants submitted for payment by Dzugan were recalled, cancelled, paid in full or returned as served prior to the service date on the payment forms, according to the affidavit.
Two checks totaling $4,072, that included payment for the invalid submissions, were issued to Dzugan by the Allegheny County Controller's Office. Of that amount, only $1,309 was legally due to Dzugan, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states that District Judge Carolyn Bengel, who serves the Tarentum, Harrison, Brackenridge, Fawn and East Deer area, ended her office's relationship with Dzugan after an irregularity surfaced last year.
According to court documents, Dzugan apparently collected $350 owed to the court by a defendant but never turned the money into Bengel, instead holding it until the defendant could raise the total amount due.
Dzugan later returned the money to the defendant after another constable picked him up on the same warrant and he was brought before Bengel for nonpayment of fines. Dzugan's actions were a violation of proper constable procedures and prompted an investigation, according to the affidavit.
Dzugan was last elected as a constable for Tarentum in 2009 and took office in January 2010. His term will expire on the last Monday of January 2016.
He also is employed by Tarentum Borough as its code enforcement officer.
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.