Storm Lake firefighter accused of stealing funds from volunteer association

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 12:05 PM CDT
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STORM LAKE, Iowa (KTIV) - A volunteer firefighter was arrested after allegedly stealing funds from the Storm Lake Volunteer Firefighters Association.

According to court documents, 28-year-old Jesus Rojo of Storm Lake, Iowa is facing one charge of second-degree theft. He is accused of stealing over $7,700 from the association.

Court documents show Rojo allegedly stole the money between Jan. 3, 2023, and July 6, 2023. During this time, authorities say Rojo was the secretary/treasurer for the Storm Lake Volunteer Firefighters Association. Authorities claim Rojo got the funds through a series of ATM withdraws and debit card transactions, and he spent the money for his own use.

KUOO Radio reports Rojo was arrested on Thursday, Sept. 15, and placed in the Buena Vista County Jail.

On Thursday, the association released a statement going into further detail on the theft. In that statement, the association said the stolen funds were not part of any account owned by the City of Storm Lake or the Storm Lake Fire Department. Instead, it was a separate fund that came from public donations. Storm Lake Fire Department Captain Adam Kutz, who is also president of the association, said the funds assist with such things as uniforms, personal equipment and fire safety education materials.

“We will arrange for an outside audit of the association’s funds to determine the full impact of the losses, and will be making certain changes in policies for handling of funds to ensure that an incident like this will not be repeated,” said Captain Kutz in the association’s official statement.

Kutz also said that Rojo has been put on leave at this time.

As of Monday morning, no hearings have been set for Rojo.