Couple charged with stealing $6,000 from fire company

A Lehigh County couple who held high offices with a local fire company is facing charges for stealing thousands of dollars from it.

According to the district attorney's office, it happened while Harrison Bruder was president of the West Catasauqua Fire Company and his wife, Brenda Bruder, was recording secretary.

The DA's office alleges the two "used the fire company's checkbook and credit card to make unauthorized purchases for their own benefit."

In early March, a detective got a report from the fire company treasurer that she'd "discovered irregularities when reviewing the fire company's savings and checking accounts, which were with Wells Fargo Bank. She also noted purchases which she considered to be unauthorized and made with the fire company's credit card."

The detective investigated and got the fire company's financial records. He concluded the Bruders "used the fire company credit card and checking account to make unauthorized payments and purchases. These included payments made to Facebook for personal expenses not related to the fire company. In addition, numerous unauthorized purchases were found to have been made by the Bruders from various retailors, including Sam's Club, Walmart, The Restaurant Depot, The Restaurant Store, Boscov's, Dollar Tree and Kohl's. The Facebook and retail purchases totaled $6,388.47."

Harrison Bruder, 53, and Brenda Bruder, 52, of Whitehall are each charged with a count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, receiving stolen property, and criminal conspiracy -- all third-degree felonies.