Former Iola fire officials steal $40k

POSTED: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 5:23pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

IOLA -- More than $40,000 is missing from Iola's volunteer fire department in Grimes County and now three of their top fire officials are accused of theft.

After four years as fire chief, Earl Sword, resigned Tuesday after being accused of stealing money from the Iola fire department for personal use.

"As the investigation continued they found several imparities going on, certain checks that were written that raised some flags," said Grimes County Sheriff, Don Sowell.

Sword along with his mother, Wanda - the department's accountant, and Sword's sister Samantha Kimich - the secretary were all charged Tuesday for taking nearly $40,000 from the station since 2010.

"The blanket of all the items taken, used with checks, purchased with checks bought," said Sowell. "Hobby Lobby, Michael's, just a list of places were not fire department related equipment."

And the charges against the trio have not only shocked the community but have left many of the volunteer fire fighters in disbelief.

Chris Roig said, "We all live in this area, this is our home as well and every one of our firefighters in our department was very shocked, disappointed, and upset that this all happened."

But newly elected president, Chris Roig, says the department won't let this tarnish their reputation for good.

"A few bad apples in the bunch can definitely spoil the whole basket and it's unfortunate that that's the case but it's all about how you pick up and move forward and that's really going to paint the picture of us as a department."

As the station looks to rebuild their trust in the community, Sheriff Sowell tell us they're still investigating and more arrests could be made in the future.

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