Today, five residents of Switzerland County, Indiana were arrested on numerous theft-related charges after a six-month investigation by the Indiana State Police-Special Investigations Section into theft from the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department.
The investigation began in March of 2020 when the Indiana State Police began an investigation after being notified that a group of individuals was attempting to fraudulently gain control of the equipment and assets of the fire department which had not been operational since 2017.
The investigation determined that, on March 16, 2020, Christopher See, age 37, filed fraudulent paperwork with the State of Indiana to take control of the fire department.
See, along with Christopher Miller, age 32, Caitlyn Staat, age 19, Jacob Parker, age 35, and Lewis Fritter, age 42 held a meeting without giving the proper public notice and without giving notice to the remaining members of the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department.
At the meeting, only attended by the five individuals, See was chosen to be president and Miller was chosen to be the new chief of the fire department.
Parker was chosen as assistant chief and Staat was chosen to be the treasurer.
The new officers were elected without following the existing by-laws of the PVFD.
See, Miller and Staat then contacted the First Financial Bank in Vevay, Indiana where they used the fraudulently filed paperwork to put their names on the accounts containing the department’s money.
They then gained access to the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department’s building which contained the department’s equipment.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the case was presented to the Switzerland County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
This led to all five suspects being arrested and charged today in Switzerland County, Indiana.
Christopher See was arrested on charges of Conspiracy to Defraud a Financial Institution, Conspiracy to Commit Theft (4 counts), Perjury (7 counts), and Official Misconduct.
Christopher Miller, Caitlyn Staat, Jacob Parker, and Lewis Fritter were all arrested on charges of Conspiracy to Defraud a Financial Institution, and Conspiracy to Commit Theft (4 counts).
All five suspects were arrested and attended an initial hearing this morning in the Switzerland County Circuit Court.