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City council asks police to charge volunteer assistant fire chief for fraudulent use of gas card

Logan J. Kocher (Facebook)

Anthony Salamone

The Morning Call

Wind Gap Borough Council voted Tuesday to ask police to charge its volunteer assistant fire chief with using taxpayer money to buy hundreds of dollars worth of gasoline.

Borough Council voted 6-1, with Council member Steve Bender dissenting, on a motion to have Slate Belt Regional police file charges against the firefighter, Logan J. Kocher, 25, of Wind Gap Volunteer Fire Company.

Council met Thursday in a one-hour executive session to review charges presented by police Chief Jonathon Hoadley, council President George Hinton said. In addition, council heard from borough Manager Louse Firestone, who originally caught the discrepancy in the fuel charges, and its solicitor, Ron Karasek.

“So that’s the point we’re at right now,” Hinton said during Tuesday’s meeting. “Do I hear a motion based on that, from the executive session?”

Council member Alex Cortezzo III moved to press the charges, and Patrick Webber seconded it. No other public discussion ensued before the vote.

Kocher’s name was not mentioned during the meeting; Hinton previously identified him as the fire official who was being investigated.

Hoadley said last month police could charge Kocher with theft and fraudulent use of an access device, but it was unclear if those would be the charges filed, or when the charges might be filed. Hoadley did not return messages Monday or Tuesday seeking additional comment.

Hoadley also said last month that an investigation determined the theft of $815 worth of regular fuel occurred between May and August. Firetrucks typically run on diesel fuel, he said.

Kocher told investigators he used the card to replenish fuel at a Slate Belt pumping facility while he was undergoing firefighting training in Bethlehem, Hoadley said. But the police chief said there were “other issues” to the case that he declined to elaborate last month.

Neither Kocher nor fire Chief Kyle Reinert could be reached for comment.

Fuel cards are in the fire company’s name, but Wind Gap pays the bill with taxpayer dollars, Hinton and Firestone previously said.

Kocher’s social media page says he lives in Pen Argyl and previously was with the North Bangor Fire Company in Upper Mount Bethel Township.

Contact Morning Call journalist Anthony Salamone at asalamone@mcall.com.

©2022 The Morning Call. Visit mcall.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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