A Northborough police officer has resigned after being accused of stealing approximately $25,000 from the police union which he was president of until recently. No criminal charges have been filed yet, but State Police are investigating (Source: The MetroWest Daily News).
A six-year police officer resigned last week amid allegations that he stole as much as $25,000 of his colleagues’ money while he was union president, the Daily News has learned from officials.
Police Chief Mark Leahy confirmed Thursday that Nathan Fiske resigned last Friday at a disciplinary hearing in front of selectmen.
Fiske, 33, of Holden, is currently under investigation by Massachusetts State Police assigned to Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.’s office, Leahy confirmed, following allegations that funds are missing from the Northborough police union’s bank account.
Fiske was hired full time as an officer in 2007 after serving as a dispatcher for several years. He grew up locally, and in 2010 was given the department’s life-saving award after he restored a 78-year-old woman’s heartbeat with a defribillator.
“Everyone’s shocked,” said Detective Jeff Noel, president of Massachusetts Coalition of Police, or Mass. C.O.P. Local 165, the town patrolmen’s union. “I had all the trust in the world in the kid.”
Noel said Fiske served as president of Local 165 from September 2008 to May 2012, when he was voted out because members felt a change was needed.
Noel said that when he took over as union president, he asked for the union’s checkbook last summer, but never received it. When the new union officials had the bank account switched over from Fiske’s name into theirs this spring, they noticed that money was missing, Noel said.
The bank account accepts union dues from the patrolmen’s union, the sergeants’ union and dispatchers’ union, Noel said. The account is mainly used is to pay union dues to the state as well as to withdraw money to pay for attendance at Mass. C.O.P. annual events, Noel said.
He said it was clear from reviewing the activity on the account that approximately $25,000 was missing. When Noel called the Mass. C.O.P. to check the status of the Northborough union local’s dues, he said he was informed that Local 165 was “significantly behind.”
Noel said he was friends with Fiske before discovering the missing money.
“We were shocked and blindsided,” said Noel, who, along with his fellow officers, pays $12 a week in dues to the bank account.
Noel said it appears the thefts had been occurring for some time. He said Fiske is known for having expensive tastes, but beyond that didn’t know what motive Fiske may have had.
“I don’t think anyone would have expected he would have done this,” Noel said.
Leahy said Fiske, who is divorced with two sons, is not suspected to have stolen anything from the town.
“I can confirm that there are no town funds or town property that’s unaccounted for,” he said. Leahy said the department’s evidence room was checked as well and that no money or other items of evidence were missing.
Fiske did not return a phone message requesting comment Thursday evening. In 2010, he told the online publication The Northborough Daily Voice that he had always wanted to be a police officer in his hometown.
“Some cops may be bad and may not treat you well, but that’s not me,” the Daily Voice quoted Fiske as saying.
Noel said he does not know when charges would be filed, since that would be up to the DA’s office.
Update (9/27/2013): The Telegram & Gazette has found out through a public records request that, in addition to being accused of stealing from the union, Fiske “had a long history of insubordination, falsifying reports and other problems within the Police Department.”
Furthermore, “Timothy Connolly, spokesman for the Worcester district attorney’s office, said this week the investigation into the alleged theft is ongoing. Detective Jeffrey R. Noel, elected to succeed Mr. Fiske as union president, said if the criminal investigation does not result in restitution being paid, a civil case will be filed.”
Update (10/25/2013): Fiske has been indicted on the charge of larceny over $250 by a common scheme.