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South Jersey Fire Chiefs Charged With Stealing Department Money To Create Auto Parts Accounts

Jay Davenport II, left, and Craig Paxton
Jay Davenport II, left, and Craig Paxton Photo Credit: Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office

The fire chief and assistant chief of a volunteer company in Atlantic County have been charged with official misconduct and theft after using fire department money to set up unauthorized accounts at an auto parts shop, authorities said.

Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company Chief Jay Davenport II and Assistant Chief Craig Paxton also were charged with conspiracy, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said. 

Tyner did not say how much fire department money was allegedly stolen. 

Both chiefs created accounts at NAPA Auto Parts, using fire company money and its tax-exempt status, Tyner said.

Detectives Michael Peterson and Mark Perna from the prosecutor’s office and Hamilton Township police executed a warranted search on the fire station on Tuesday, Tyner said.

The men, both 38, were issued complaint summonses and released. They are due to appear in court at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 28.

Hamilton Township officials announced on Tuesday that the fire company was administratively closed due to a criminal investigation and that its area will be covered by neighboring departments.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Flammer is handling the case.

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