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Castle Shannon firefighter accused of stealing more than $130,000

Megan Guza
| Thursday, May 17, 2018, 12:15 p.m.

A longtime Castle Shannon volunteer firefighter stole more than $130,000 from the firefighters' relief association over the course of seven years, according to charges filed against the man.

“Yeah, I stole it,” John Montgomery allegedly said when confronted with evidence.

Montgomery, 76, is charged with two counts of felony theft by unlawful taking and two counts of misappropriation of funds, court records show.

He turned himself in to District Attorney's detectives Thursday morning, according to a spokesman for that office.

Detectives began investigating the fire department's finances in December after an audit from the state auditor general's office turned up poor and incomplete recordkeeping and unaccounted-for money.

“Our volunteer firefighters work hard raising the funds needed to protect our homes and families,” said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. “When my audits uncover potential theft from volunteer fire relief associations, I will do everything in my power to stop it.”

Montgomery had been the point of contact between the department and auditors for at least 25 years, according to the complaint. Detectives and other fire department officials found that Montgomery had failed to turn over at least nine boxes of records in the latest audit.

The most notable discrepancies were in the form of checks written out to cash from the relief association's special reserve, or “rainy day” fund, according to the complaint. Officials had no explanation for the checks.

When asked to provide records for those checks, Montgomery alleged showed up empty-handed but told officials, “Yeah, I stole it,” according to the complaint.

Montgomery told detectives he'd stolen about $95,000 since 2013 but had paid back about $66,000, according to the complaint. A search of his bank records showed he'd written himself checks for $134,261 between January 2010 and April.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

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