The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

March 27, 2013

Police: Mercer man, charged with theft, was not a firefighter

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

MERCER — A Mercer man previously charged by Hempfield Township police with stealing an ambulance company’s radio has now been charged by Mercer police with using the radio to contact 911 and pretending to be a firefighter.

Charles R. Spaulding Jr., 19, of 145 N. Shenango St., has been charged by Mercer police with receiving stolen property and impersonating a public servant.

Hempfield police charged Spaulding with theft.

Mercer police said they were called to a house fire March 16 in the 200 block of Franklin Street and saw Spaulding in a driveway holding a radio.

Spaulding reported that there was no fire and there appeared to be exhaust from a dryer vent, police said.

East End, Mercer, firefighter Collin Banco told police that Spaulding had communicated with 911 and identified himself as a Fredonia firefighter. Banco said Spaulding is not a firefighter for his department or Fredonia, police said.

Fredonia Fire Chief George Benninghoff said Spaulding had applied to be a firefighter for his department but was not an active member, police said.

Spaulding used a radio identity that belonged to a Fredonia firefighter who no longer is an active member, police said.

The radio Spaulding had was inscribed with the words “Prop. of Life Force,” referring to the Hempfield Township ambulance company.

Life Force reported that Spaulding had ridden with ambulance personnel in November, and that the company was missing “a few” radios.

Spaulding told police he is not a firefighter for East End or Fredonia, nor is he a member of an emergency service. He also admitted taking a radio during a ride-along, police said.

Spaulding has been sent summonses to appear for preliminary hearings at 3:30 p.m. April 17 before District Judge Brian Arthur, Greenville, and 2:30 p.m. April 18 before District Judge Lorinda L. Hinch, Mercer.