Ex-Hayden fire chief facing theft charges sworn in as mayor - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

UPDATE

Ex-Hayden fire chief facing theft charges sworn in as mayor

Posted: Updated:
Charles Vega is suspected of stealing money from a volunteer fire department fundraiser and four chainsaws belong to the Asarco Mine. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) Charles Vega is suspected of stealing money from a volunteer fire department fundraiser and four chainsaws belong to the Asarco Mine. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Charles Vega getting sworn in as mayor Charles Vega getting sworn in as mayor
One of the chainsaw reportedly stolen from an Asarco Mine. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) One of the chainsaw reportedly stolen from an Asarco Mine. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
  • More newsMore>>

  • Foul play not ruled out in fatal Wilcox County blaze

    Foul play not ruled out in fatal Wilcox Co. blaze

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-07-29 04:23:03 GMT
    Mable Davis could do nothing but watch as flames devoured the home across the street, where her sister, Patricia Nickelson had been staying with her long time boyfriend. He got out of the burning houseMore >>
    Multiple calls and email to the WSFA 12 Newsroom took our news crews to the town of Camden. Two recent deadly fires there have many in the community on edge. The families of the victims want answers.  Are the fires related?  Do authorities suspect arson? WSFA took their questions to county and state officials.
    More >>
  • Teacher hit by train expected to make full recovery

    Teacher hit by train expected to make full recovery

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:53:06 GMT
    Officials at the Smiths Station Fire Department say the victim, later identified as Vivian Martin, was transported to Midtown Medical Center with what appeared to be non life-threatening injuries.More >>
    Multiple sources tell News Leader 9 that a Smiths Station teacher was hit by a train earlier today in Lee County.

    Officials at the Smiths Station Fire Department say the victim, later identified as Vivian Martin, was transported to Midtown Medical Center with what appeared to be non life-threatening injuries.
    More >>
  • Committee selects new Houston County Sheriff candidate

    Committee selects new Houston County Sheriff candidate

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:44:08 GMT
    (Source: WSFA 12 News)(Source: WSFA 12 News)
    The Houston County Republican Executive Committee agreed on a replacement for outgoing Sheriff Andy Hughes on Monday. Current Houston County Chief Deputy Donald Valenza will replace HughesMore >>
    The Houston County Republican Executive Committee agreed on a replacement for outgoing Sheriff Andy Hughes on Monday.More >>
FLORENCE, AZ (CBS5) -

A former acting fire chief for Hayden accused of theft and trafficking in stolen property was sworn in as the community's mayor late Monday afternoon.

Charles Vega, 37, was elected mayor in March. Just a month earlier, he had been arrested by Pinal County sheriff's deputies after a string of events that included allegedly taking money from a fundraising dance for the Hayden Volunteer Fire Department and chainsaws meant for the Asarco Mine in Kearney.

Vega was removed as the fire chief and is a former worker at the Asarco Mine.

Hayden police told Pinal County investigators in December they believed the $850 taken from the volunteer fire department fundraiser was done by a town employee.

At the same time, Gila County sheriff's deputies were investigating the theft of property, including four chainsaws valued at $1,120 each, from the mine.

Deputies said the chainsaws were ordered at the mine and had been delivered to a mine warehouse. It was later learned the saws were delivered to Vega, deputies said.

Deputies said they recovered one of the stolen chainsaws and that Vega tried to sell another to replace the money in the fire department fund.

Vega was arrested Feb. 20 and booked into jail on suspicion of theft of controlled property and trafficking in stolen property. He was released on his own recognizance.

"I'm innocent until proven guilty," Vega told CBS 5 News. "I did do [sic] a statement but it was because I was uncomfortable. It was a big conflict of interest of something that picked up, how they got me and stuff."

The incumbent that Vega beat in the election, Monica Badillo, said Vega should step down.

"It would be the responsible thing to do but I believe, he truly believes in his own mind that he didn't do anything," Badillo said.

"I like Charlie, I know his family," said Della Bustamonte, who has lived in Hayden for more than 50 years. She said her son went to high school with Vega. But while she voted for Vega, she said her allegiance may shift if he is convicted.

"You do the crime, you pay the time."

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns told CBS 5 News if an elected official is convicted of a felony, he or she will be removed from office. Online records show a pretrial conference for Vega's case will be next month.

We asked Vega if he can fulfill his mayoral responsibilities given the serious nature of the charges and impending trial. He said he could.

"I'm strong and I'm here for the people," Vega said.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow