EXETER -- A woman has been charged with stealing from a fire company in Luzerne County.
Stephanie McNeil was arraigned before a magisterial district judge in West Pittston Monday morning.
McNeil said nothing as she walked into a magistrate's office in West Pittston. Police charged her with taking more than $67,000 from the Exeter Hose Company while she was its treasurer. Her attorney denies the charges.
"We are not running and we are not hiding from these charges," said attorney Peter Moses. "On December 14, there will be a preliminary hearing and the evidence will be challenged."
But police say otherwise. According to court papers, McNeil would take out money from an emergency bank account with the Exeter Hose Company, possibly to fund a drug addiction.
Court papers indicate one person told police McNeil developed an addiction to painkillers.
An investigation into missing money began last year. The hose company got police involved after realizing bills were not being paid.
"We are still $5,000 in debt," said current hose company treasurer Brenda Jurchak.
The Exeter Hose Company's current treasurer says when McNeil was treasurer, she would sometimes produce no treasurer reports at the company's monthly meetings while her husband Tom McNeil was the hose company's president. Police do not believe Tom McNeil did anything wrong.
But both are no longer members of the hose company. Now, officials promise not to let anyone steal from the Exeter Hose Company again.
"We're doing everything in our power to come back and have checks and balances in place," said Jurchak.
Some of the changes include having the Exeter Hose Company's current treasurer insured. The treasurer also must produce a written report at its monthly meetings that is reviewed by at least one other person.