Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Chicago Heights police arrested Chicago Heights Firefighter Michael Janusek, a 12-year member of the department who also serves as its EMS coordinator, on Jan. 25 after a month-long investigation, police chief Thomas Rogers said in a statement. Janusek is charged with felony theft and official misconduct for allegedly misappropriating money from the Chicago Heights Fire Department’s foreign fire tax fund. He is currently free on a $25,000 unsecured bond after being released from custody Saturday. His status with the Chicago Heights Fire Department was not immediately known.

The police investigation found that approximately $6,000 worth of merchandise purchased with fund money, which state statute says must be used for the maintenance, use and benefit of the department, had not been authorized by the fund’s board of directors.

Janusek’s attorney Robert Olson said his client denied any wrongdoing and was still in the dark about the allegations. Olson said his client was a member of the Chicago Heights Foreign Fire Insurance Board, whose officers are responsible for spending the allotted foreign fire funds that Janusek is alleged to have stolen.

Foreign fire tax funds are derived from the insurance taxes companies outside the state pay to the Illinois Municipal League, which in turn distributes the money it collects to individual departments for use as they see fit.

Janusek, who also worked part-time as a police officer in Crestwood, resigned his position there earlier this week after the charges were announced.

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