Irvine firefighter charged with misappropriation of funds and official misconduct

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An Irvine firefighter was accused of purchasing a personal vehicle under a fire department’s name on Monday, among other charges.

The employee in question has been suspended from all duties in the City of Irvine.

According to a complaint warrant, 27-year-old Christopher Neal arranged to purchase a vehicle for the Irvine Fire Department while employed as a public servant.

Neal managed to successfully obtain the vehicle from the victim in Maryland and brought the vehicle back to Estill County.

Neal told the victim that the vehicle was to be owned and used by the City of Irvine Fire Department but further investigation revealed that he was not being truthful. Neal allegedly proceeded to title the vehicle in his name and had been using the vehicle for his personal use.

The victim stated that the vehicle contained emergency equipment and that it would not have been sold to Neal or any other individuals had they known that it was for a personal use.

Officials said that the vehicle was not allowed to leave with Maryland Government license plates if it were sold to an individual. According to reports, Neal informed the victim that the Irvine City Hall was handling the return of the license plates.

In another complaint warrant, Neal allegedly sold two sets of emergency lights intended for vehicles belonging to the City of Irvine to two separate individuals without the authorization or knowledge of his employer. The estimated value of lights were more than $500 and less than $10,000.

On a separate occasion, Neal also allegedly brandished a loaded firearm into the face of a victim, threatening the victim if the victim were to speak.

Neal was charged with theft by deception (include cold checks under $500) and first-degree official misconduct, first-degree wanton endangerment, third-degree terroristic threatening, and theft by unlawful taking ($500 or more).