Charles Vega, 37, the former fire chief in Hayden, was arrested on suspicion of theft and trafficking in stolen property. Pinal County Sheriff’s officials say Vega was arrested Feb. 20 and later released on his own recognizance. Hayden police contacted the sheriff’s office last December about missing money from an annual fundraiser dance for the town’s volunteer fire department, The Associated Press reported. At the time, Gila County Sheriff’s deputies were investigating the theft of up to four chainsaws from the Asarco Mine in Kearny.
Authorities learned Vega was a former mine employee and one of the last people to have the chainsaws, valued at more than $1,100 apiece. They say Vega admitted he took one of the chainsaws in an attempt to sell it and replace the money stolen from the town fund.