PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - On Wednesday, February 20th, 2013, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office arrested Hayden’s former acting Fire Chief Charles Vega, 37 years old, of Hayden, for theft and trafficking in stolen property.
In late December, Hayden Police contacted Pinal County Sheriff’s Office after money from an annual dance fundraiser for the town’s volunteer fire department was found to be missing. Hayden Police told sheriff deputies they believed the theft had been done by a town employee.
During the course of the investigation, Gila County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a theft of property from the Asarco Mine located in Kearny. It was soon discovered which recently removed Fire Chief for the Town of Hayden, Charles Vega, was a former employee of the Asarco Mine, and one of the last people to have the stolen items.
The items stolen from the mine were as many as four chainsaws worth $1,120 each. It was also discovered that the chainsaws ordered at the mine that were missing were delivered to the Asarco Mine warehouse to Charles Vega.
During the investigation, deputies discovered that the Gila County Sheriff’s Office had impounded one of the stolen chainsaws after Vega attempted to sell the chainsaw to replace the money he had stolen from the town fundraiser.
After changing his story several times, Vega finally confessed to deputies that he had stolen the chainsaw from the Asarco Mine to be able to replace the money he stole from the town fund.
The dance was a fundraiser hosted by the Town of Hayden for the volunteer fire department. They raised $850 which Vega said he spent on small items for the fire department and then used the rest to buy personal items for himself.
Vega was arrested and booked on Theft of Controlled Property and Trafficking in Stolen Property-2nd degree. He has since been released on his own recognizance.