DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — The former chief of the East Derry Fire Department and his wife were in court Monday to face charges that they stole tens of thousands of dollars from the department. Investigators said the couple stole so much that they forced the fire station to close.
More than a year after the fire station shut its door, former fire chief Derrik Bollinger and his wife, Regina Bollinger, are accused of stealing more than $67,000 and facing theft charges.
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A yearlong investigation by state police revealed loans weren’t being paid back, fire trucks were being repossessed, and East Derry Township fire department equipment was being sold at pawn shops.
According to the criminal complaint obtained by Channel 11 News, bank records from Aug. 27, 2013, indicate that a $60,000 building improvement load was deposited and a $40,000 check made out to D & G Construction, a company owned by the Bollingers. Police said Derrik Bollinger put down $30,000 on a new pickup truck the same day that check was written.
"We will do a thorough accounting of everything and match up what we can,” Michael Ferguson, the Bollingers’ attorney, said. “Some presumptions may not be fair.”
Derry Township Supervisor Vince DeCario said the investigation was prompted when an audit from the department’s supervisors for state funding came back unclear and incomplete.
With an unclear audit from the department, supervisors said they were forced to revoke $30,000 in state funding, leaving bills unpaid and forcing the fire department to shut down.
"Nobody wants to see this happen to any fire department, but we have to do our job. It's not our money. That's taxpayer money,” DeCario said.
The rest of the department’s gear was put into storage. Channel 11 learned the former station was sold, but there is still fire protection for Derry Township from surrounding departments.
Police said there could be more money unaccounted. Anyone with information is asked to contact state police.