LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Lake County deputies arrested a former Montverde fire chief on theft and fraud charges after they say he bought a leather helmet on a city credit card and did not return it when he resigned.
Deputies say former Montverde Fire Chief Noel James Fetters, 33, paid $714.23 with a city credit card for a hand-stitched leather helmet he had shipped to his home last November. The handcrafted Cairns helmet was unlike any of the other red, black or white helmets issued to Montverde firefighters and much more costly. The average helmet issued to Montverde cost $200, according to the arrest report.
Fetters at the time never turned in a purchase order for the helmet. Months later he turned in a purchase order which said the helmet was bought for another firefighter. That firefighter, however, had already been issued a black helmet. Pictures were also taken this year of Fetters wearing the leather helmet at fire scenes and posted to social media, according to the arrest report.
Fetters also signed off on a $170 purchase for special fire-fighting boots, but denied buying the shoes.
Fetters resigned from the department Jan. 29 but never returned the leather helmet or the special boots, according to the report. Fetters said he had the helmet delivered to his house to keep it from being stolen and the day it was delivered he left it at the fire station with other helmets.
Fetters had been chief of the department since May 2012.
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