Mineral Fire Volunteer Faces Additional Theft Charges After Audit

By Natalie Johnson / njohnson@chronline.com

A former volunteer at Mineral’s Lewis County Fire District 9 who was convicted earlier this year in Pierce County for thefts from the district is now facing additional charges in Lewis County after the conclusion of an investigation by the state Auditor’s Office.

Brady James Mounce, 24, of Mineral, has been referred to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office on suspicion of second-degree theft, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The Prosecutor’s Office has not yet filed charges against Mounce, but the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office took action last year on similar allegations across the county line in Eatonville, in which he was accused of using more than $3,300 in Fire District 9 funds to purchase fuel for his personal vehicle.

“The monies that Brady Mounce diverted for his personal use were a large percentage of our annual general budget,” wrote Fire Commissioner Virginia Reynolds in a victim impact statement in the Pierce County case. “This added expense to the department resulted, at times, in an inability to purchase personal protection gear or new oxygen bottles due to lack of funds.”

Mounce was charged in May 2016 with second-degree theft in Pierce County in the case. He pleaded guilty in February to two counts of third-degree theft and was sentenced to 364 days with 334 days suspended on one count, and 364 days with 364 days suspended on the second, according to court documents. He was allowed to serve the remaining 30 days on electronic home monitoring.

“When Brady Mounce stole from the fire department, he not only lost the trust of those he worked with, but he may have destroyed the trust that the whole community had in the Mineral Fire and Rescue organization,” Reynolds wrote.

The possible new charges involve alleged thefts that took place between 2013 and 2014, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Mounce is accused of spending $1,503.12 on a fire district fuel card for his personal vehicle within Lewis County.

On June 24, 2016, the Sheriff’s Office received a report of the alleged thefts. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the state Auditor’s Office conducted a review of the district’s finances, which concluded last week.

The audit found $5,000 in fuel allegedly “misappropriated” by Mounce, according to a report from the Sheriff’s Office. Overall, the audit discovered $20,300 in fuel funds were misappropriated.

“However, they could not determine who was responsible,” said Commander Dusty Breen of the Sheriff’s Office.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer confirmed Wednesday that his office is reviewing the information provided by the Sheriff’s Office.