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Former Indian River County assistant fire chief arrested

Former Indian River County assistant fire chief arrested

Former Indian River County assistant fire chief arrested

Vero Beach, Fla. – A former Indian County assistant fire chief was arrested Monday morning and charged with stealing thousands of dollars from the county.

Sheriff Deryl Loar said Brian Burkeen used a county credit card to purchase hundreds of tires. It is valued at at least $300,000. He would then sell the tires and pocket the cash according to the investigation.

He turned himself in at the Indian River County jail Monday morning and posted bond Monday afternoon. Detectives say he also offered to pay the money back.

The investigation began around Feb. 27, 2018, shortly after Burkeen’s retirement on February 9th.

Loar said Fire Chief John King contacted the Sheriff’s Office requesting an investigation into stolen or missing tires from the Indian River County Emergency Operations Center.

King told investigators he received invoices from an administrative assistant in reference to tires purchased from the Goodyear Tire Company at 1920 58th Avenue in Vero Beach. King noticed more than $28,000 worth of tires purchased between Jan. 19 and Feb. 8, 2018.

 Burkeen is out of jail on a $125,000 bond. County leaders say they’re reviewing policies and procedures to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

County administrator Jason E. Brown released the following statement regarding Burkeen’s arrest:

Upon learning of possible wrong doing, a report was filed with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office who initiated an investigation.  We continue to work closely with law enforcement officials.

We met with the Clerk of the Court and Comptroller, Jeff Smith.  His internal auditor is conducting a full review, and we have talked with the external/independent auditors who have been advised of the investigation.  

The allegations against someone we have worked with for many years are very upsetting.  Because this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide further comment, other than to say we are extremely saddened and disappointed.

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