MONACA, Pa. (KDKA) - A Beaver County fire chief is facing felony charges Wednesday. Police in Monaca accuse Michael Ribar of stealing more than $30,000 from the department he leads.
The investigation now involves the Attorney General's office. A media spokesman says that the office will now conduct a new audit of the volunteer fire department.
The Monaca Police Chief tells KDKA's Meghan Schiller that two members from the volunteer fire department came to the police station on June 4 to report missing money. They said the Volunteer Fire Department's Relief Association bank account had been in the red since March 16 and they didn't know why.
Police say 30-year-old Chief Ribar served at Monaca's #5 Volunteer Fire Department Station 58.
Mayor Simon Short tells KDKA he learned of the charges Wednesday.
"It's an isolated incident," said Mayor Short. "I'm sure our department and the auditor general, they're going to handle it with the utmost respect for our community."
The police report says Chief Ribar served as the treasurer for the Volunteer Fire Department's Relief Association Bank Account. He's accused of driving to an ATM hundreds of times and withdrawing a total of $33,000 since July of 2018.
"Hopefully moving forward, everything gets handled properly and the investigation goes through and the fire department can still maintain the credibility that they deserve because they are a bunch of good men that serve our community," said Mayor Short.
The mayor said money is already tight and it was hoped they could soon merge Monaca's volunteer fire stations due to low funds.
Police accuse Chief Ribar of stealing state funds, distributed by the Auditor General's Office to volunteer fire departments and other emergency services.
Investigators say Ribar admitted he stole the money, saying he needed the cash for rent, utilities and gas for his car.
KDKA's Meghan Schiller went to the address listed for Michael Ribar on the criminal complaint to see if he wanted to comment. The front door was open, but it was closed as she walked up to knock.
The police report adds Ribar "knew it was wrong" and even "envisioned himself eventually getting arrested."
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