CLEARFIELD – A local fire chief has been accused of misusing Lawrence Township funds since Sept. 10 of last year.
Shane R. Nevling, 35, of Clearfield has been charged by Chief Doug Clark of the Lawrence Township police with a felony count of other reason access device is unauthorized by issuer; a misdemeanor count each of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property; and six misdemeanor counts of identity theft.
The charges were filed against Nevling, the chief of the Hyde Fire Co. Station 6, through the office of Magisterial District Judge Mike Morris.
Nevling waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail. His bail was previously set at $25,000, which he’s posted.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Nevling used the township’s fuel credit cards many times to put fuel in his personal vehicles. These transactions occurred at Pacific Pride/J.J. Powell fuel stations and Sheetz (Nichols Street store).
On Dec. 17, Clark was informed of this by township Supervisor Jeremy Ruffner, who was contacted by a local firefighter. The firefighter had observed a newer green Mazda Tribute with a red light on its roof being fueled at approximately 2:28 p.m. Dec. 16 at Pacific Pride, a J.J. Powell fueling station, on U.S. Route 322.
The witness asked Ruffner why a firefighter would be permitted to fuel his personal vehicle. Ruffner told Clark that this is not permitted and is considered a theft; this transaction was subsequently researched by township secretary Barbara Shaffner.
Shaffner obtained a still photograph from J.J. Powell, which showed Nevling using the fuel pump. However, Nevling allegedly used another firefighter’s company code to get the fuel.
Upon receipt of this information, Shaffner obtained a complete list of locations from which the Hyde Fire Co. gets its fuel. This included J.J. Powell locations on South Second Street and Hammermill Road and Sheetz (Nichols Street).
It was discovered numerous ethanol gasoline and diesel fuel transactions were suspicious between September and December of 2018. J.J. Powell was requested to provide photographs from all these transactions, according to the affidavit.
On Dec. 18, Clark drove by Nevling’s residence and observed a green-colored Mazda in his driveway. It also had a red emergency light on its roof, as mentioned in the vehicle description provided to Ruffner.
On Dec. 19, Clark received correspondence relating to surveillance footage of the suspicious transactions at Sheetz. He was advised the transactions were made by the same person who had fueled three, different vehicles in the time period and also used a My Sheetz card.
On Dec. 31, documentation was received for transactions on two, different township fuel cards.
In an incident Sept. 18, Nevling was observed in a green Mazda registered to him and he waited at the pump until a red, four-door sedan pulled into the fuel station adjacent to him.
Nevling used the township’s fuel card to pump gas into the red sedan. Afterward, he pumped gas into his Mazda before entering the Sheetz store, the affidavit said.
On Oct. 25, Nevling was observed in his Mazda, then he exited and opened the rear hatch. He removed two, blue gas cans and pumped diesel fuel into both. Once filled, he placed the cans into the back of his vehicle.
Further investigation determined the fire company had gas cans on-hand, but they were red and to keep gas for use in generators and other equipment. It was noted that the company doesn’t fill its cans with diesel fuel.
On Oct. 29, Nevling was observed pumping gas into a silver-colored Chevrolet Tahoe, which is registered to him. He entered Sheetz briefly before departing from the fuel station.
Nevling allegedly made a total of 20 transactions, stealing $599.74 from the township. Many times, he allegedly used another firefighter’s code to use the credit card to get fuel.