Former Bagley Fire Chief Accused of Misspending Thousands

BAGLEY, Iowa -- A state audit found a small Iowa town's former fire chief stole thousands of dollars from the fire association.

"That’s our money for our fire department," said Bagley resident Janet Bennett.

Bennett is shocked to learn the Bagley Firefighter's Association, which is an organization that was designed to help the community, was allegedly stealing from it.

Matt Sutherland, the former fire chief who was also the president and treasurer of the Bagley Firefighter's Association, is accused of misspending thousands of dollars.

According to the audit, Sutherland misspent upwards of $20,000 from 2014 to 2018 at stores like Sam's Club, Walmart and Amazon.

The audit says Sutherland spent $1,695 at Amazon on items like a wedding band, men's and women's motorcycle clothing, saddles and an Amazon Fire TV Stick for streaming media. The audit also showed $2,700 was spent at local convenience stores, according to the audit.

According to the audit, the Bagley Firefighter's Association was supposed to be raising money for community activities like the annual Night of Fire.

“I donated to that and I am not happy that my money is going in his pocket and not where it’s supposed to go," Bennett said.

It's an event the Bagley City Council says will not happen this year.

The audit says Sutherland admitted to buying some personal items.

Guthrie County Sheriff's Department is investigating. No criminal charges have been filed.

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