BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — An Altoona man was charged with theft after police say he stole over $10,000 from a Logan Township fire hall.
James Walter, 54, who was the president of the Newburg Fire Company Social Hall was accused of taking the money in July 2021 when the board members reported him to the Logan Township Police Department. Walter resigned as president shortly after.
The two board members said Walter was given $3,000 to buy 100 tables from an individual on Facebook Marketplace named Dave. They also claimed Walter was later unable to show his text conversations with Dave or prove that his account existed.
Walter reportedly told the board members that Dave worked at a surplus store. However, police say the owner of the surplus store was contacted and informed that no one named Dave had ever been employed at the store.
The board members also discovered that Walter had also taken $7,503 from a share of proceeds from PA Skills games at the fire hall. They claimed Walter would meet with an outside vendor to receive a percentage of the money that was collected from the machines. The money would then be placed in an envelope and given to the treasurer with the dollar amount written on it.
One of the members reportedly told police several discrepancies were found in the dollar amounts when compared to the vendors collection report. The money was then determined to have been taken between January 2021 and June 2021 on sixteen different occasions.
When interviewed by police, Walter claimed he met and paid the Facebook Marketplace user he referred to as Dave $3,000 the for the tables but was not given to him. He also told police he attempted to contact Dave but wasn’t able to reach him after he said Dave’s account was deleted.
Walter claimed the $7,503 discrepancy from the Skills machines was caused by the vendor and said the vendor was not providing him with the proper dollar amounts. Police say Walter also denied taking any money prior to the vendor issuing collection reports.
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Walter faces felony charges of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 28.