Firefighters Local Official in Rhode Island Charged with Theft

Gregory Hitchcock might call it short-term borrowing. Law enforcement officials are calling it embezzlement. Hitchcock, deputy fire chief for the Lake Mishnock Fire Department in the Town of West Greenwich, Rhode Island, was charged on July 16 with embezzling nearly $8,000 from International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 4267, where he serves as president. It was his years as union treasurer, however, that is of concern to state investigators. 

Hitchcock, 38, a resident of West Greenwich, had been local treasurer until April 2008. In an audit of statements covering December 2003-January 2008, his successor discovered a series of suspicious transfers between bank accounts in the names of Hitchcock and the union. The new treasurer informed the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit of the discrepancies, who in turn conducted a six-month probe. The investigation concluded Hitchcock had withdrawn $7,757.11 from the local account and returned $6,339.06, for a …