By Brent Brown
City officials announced the resignation and retirement of longtime Greensburg Fire Chief Scott Chasteen Friday, three days after criminal charges were filed against his wife, the former Greensburg Chief of Police.
A 24-year veteran of the department, Chasteen notified Mayor Gary Herbert of his intentions to step down from the position he's held for more than a decade. The change was effective immediately.
"Scott Chasteen has always been an asset to the City of Greensburg as fire chief, and under his watch the department has flourished," the mayor said in a written statement. "I regret that his resignation and retirement arise under the cloud that they do, but I believe that his decision is the correct one and with a heavy heart, I accept it."
The mayor's statement references the arrest earlier this week of former Greensburg Chief of Police Stacey Chasteen, who, according to court documents, admitted to stealing nearly $73,000 from the Greensburg Police Department's evidence room. That amount was seized as financial evidence from one 2012 case, but state investigators said they discovered cash evidence missing from more than a dozen other criminal cases during their audit of the evidence room in January. The former police chief, who resigned in December, faces charges of official misconduct and theft.
Court documents allege that Stacey Chasteen stole the evidence money and lost it to an out-of-control gambling habit. Stacey Chasteen said she panicked and confided in her husband in June 2013 that she had stolen and gambled away nearly $73,000 in police evidence funds and wished to return them, investigators said.
The couple, through the use of their own funds and by borrowing a substantial amount of money from friends, said they were able to collect about $70,000. According to court documents, Stacey Chasteen "represented to her husband that she was going to put the money back [into the police department's evidence room]." Instead, the former police chief gambled and lost all of that money too, investigators said.
The probable cause affidavit states that Scott Chasteen told Indiana State Police detectives he believed his wife had used the money to replace the stolen evidence funds and had seen her package it as though it was the same cash originally stored in the evidence room. He said he believed she had put the money back.
Stacey Chasteen surrendered to authorities this week and was released after posting bond. She is scheduled to make her initial court appearance at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 in Decatur Circuit Court.
Scott Chasteen has not been charged with any crime in the case.
A statement from the Decatur County Prosecutor's Office released to the Daily News earlier this week says prosecutors are not pursuing criminal charges against any other person in regards to the case against Stacey Chasteen.
Mayor Herbert said city officials first learned that Scott Chasteen had knowledge of his wife's alleged actions this week when court documents pertaining to the criminal case against the former police chief were released to the public.
Herbert told the Daily News he planned to confer with the Greensburg Board of Works in order to make a decision regarding Scott Chasteen's future role with the city. The mayor spoke highly of Scott Chasteen's work as fire chief and his community involvement, but said the city would move quickly in making a decision that was "best for the City of Greensburg."
City officials said they are currently examining candidates to fill the departing fire chief's role.
"The work of the City of Greensburg will continue, and we've started the process of identifying and hiring a new [fire] chief," Mayor Herbert said in a written statement.
"At this point, we are considering all available options and will move quickly to fill the position with the best possible candidate. The city deserves no less."
(c)2015 the Greensburg Daily News (Greensburg, Ind.)