FORMER INDUSTRY POLICE CHIEF INDICTED FOR THEFT
By J.D. Prose email@example.com | Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9:00 pm
INDUSTRY -- Former Industry Police Chief Garold "Hawk" Miller was charged Wednesday with stealing $800 from a bank account originally intended to fund a K-9 unit for the since-disbanded department.
Miller, 60, of 1600 Ohio Ave., Apartment 6, Industry, is charged with misapplication of entrusted property, theft by deception, theft and criminal mischief.
According to a joint criminal complaint filed by Beaver police Detective Jim DeGori and chief county Detective Joe Fennych, Miller wrote a check to himself for $800 on Aug. 3, 2009, to pay for gas line repairs at his house.
At the time, Miller and Industry officer Josh Uhernick were the only account holders. However, Uhernick told investigators that Miller gave him a blank check to sign without stating the reason.
Besides making the check out to himself, Miller, the complaint says, wrote "Advance for line" on the check's memo line and endorsed it with his signature.
Authorities launched an investigation after Miller deposited $800 in the First National Community Bank account on April 16, 2012, nearly a month after Industry Council abolished the borough police department and contracted with Beaver for police services.
A Midland bank branch employee told investigators that Miller became "very irritated" when he learned that he no longer had access to the account. Miller, the employee said, insisted that his attorney told him to deposit the money and he was eventually allowed to make the deposit.
Industry Secretary Kim Kelley called Beaver police May 5 after she discovered the deposit and the account. Previously, Industry Mayor Nick Yanosich said he and council members were unaware of the account, called a "community safety fund."
Miller said last month that some borough officials were aware of the account, which was created to fund a K-9 unit that council never approved. After that, Miller said the account was used for community purposes, such as buying supplies, and T-shirts and bicycle helmets for children.
Investigators said "donations were solicited from borough residents, civic groups and businesses" for the K-9 unit or community purchases and contributors interviewed said they did not think the money would be for the personal use of anyone.
Beaver Police Chief Dan Madgar referred questions Wednesday to Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh.
"The reason (a criminal complaint) was filed is to protect the integrity of funds raised in communities," Berosh said.
Steve Colafella, Miller's attorney, declined comment.