2 felonies dismissed, 2 stick in case involving former Sunbury fire company treasurer
SHAMOKIN - Two felony theft-related offenses filed by Sunbury police against the former treasurer of Rescue Hose Company in Sunbury were dismissed Tuesday in magisterial district court while the defendant was held for court on two additional charges during a two-hour preliminary hearing.
Richard Sinko, 47, of 255 14th St., Northumberland, who is accused of stealing plumbing, electrical and building products and cash totaling $2,308.37 belonging to the fire company between June 6, 2011, and Aug. 29, 2012, was ordered by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III to appear for a pre-trial conference July 11 at Northumberland County Courthouse.
Gembic dismissed felonies of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property due to insufficient evidence, while he found enough evidence had been established for a felony of access device fraud and misdemeanor of misapplication of entrusted property.
Three witnesses were presented by assistant district attorney Michael Toomey, including arresting officer Stephen Bennick of Sunbury police and two current or former fire company officials.
The husband and wife defense attorney team of Kymberley Best and Tim Bowers didn't call any witnesses.
Best said she was pleased with the judge's ruling and remains confident the two remaining charges will be dismissed.
"There was no proof or testimony that our client stole anything," Best said after the hearing. "More than half the stack of invoices presented in court were either accounted for or showed no proof that Mr. Sinko was guilty of the crimes he was charged with."
Toomey declined comment.
The case was referred to Gembic when Magisterial District Judge Benjamin Apfelbaum of Sunbury recused himself. At Sinko's arraignment on the charges, Apfelbaum had described the defendant as a "pillar of the community."
Sinko, who remains free on recognizance bail set by Apfelbaum, has served as a volunteer firefighter in Sunbury for more than three decades and was honored for helping save the lives of residents during the 2011 flood while serving as a member of the Sunbury Water Rescue Team.
Sinko's brother, Michael Wayne Hummel, 42, of 139 N. River Ave., Sunbury, also was charged by Bennick in the case with misdemeanors of theft, receiving stolen property and misapplication of entrusted funds for allegedly stealing the similar products and $1,106.15 in cash during the same time period while he was a fire company member.
Hummel waived his right to a preliminary hearing April 8 before Gembic and is awaiting a pre-trial conference June 6.