Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

June 18, 2013

Former Kerens VFD treasurer arrested for theft

Kerens — The loss of $2,900 from the Kerens Volunteer Fire Department in May has led to the arrest of the group’s treasurer, Kaell Mullen.

Mullen has been charged with theft of more than $1,500 and less than $20,000 by a public servant, a third-degree felony.

The loss was noticed in May by Kerens Fire Chief Charlie Bush, who called on the Kerens Police Department for help. Police Chief Bryan Miers investigated the case, tracking the purchases to Mullen, who was arrested on June 5. Mullen was released after posting a $10,000 bond that same day, according to Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner.

“We terminated him from the department due to his alleged actions,” Bush said of Mullen. “Basically, we put in the certified letter that it was due to discrepancies in the treasurer’s accounting.”

The discrepancies came from a debit card that Mullen had been authorized to get on the department’s account to make it easier to buy truck parts and printer ink off the Internet. However, the charges that began showing up were for deck materials from Home Depot, home tile, even payments to DISH Network (satellite TV service) for Mullen’s home, and gas from the local convenience stores.

The card had been issued back in September, but most of the charges appeared this past spring, Bush said.

“There were only a few purchases in the first few months but in March and April is when it really went wild,” Bush said. In April, Bush said they found about $1,300 in questionable charges.

The discrepancies were noticed because the treasurer was turning over a spreadsheet each month to the fire department, not the actual bank statements. But after he’d missed a couple of meetings, Bush became suspicious and opened the next bank statement that arrived at the fire department. Seeing the charges, he went to the bank and got six months worth of activity.

“We had a meeting and confronted him with it and he denied the charges were his,” Bush said. “He denied using the card for personal use. He claimed it was identity theft, so I had no choice but to turn it over to the police department for investigation.”

They notified Mullen he was no longer part of the department, appointed Terry Stovall as interim treasurer, and then told the Emergency Service District #1 board what had happened.

Basically, the board reimburses Kerens for authorized expenses, like car parts or fuel for fighting grass fires, one month after the departments submit a statement. Three departments have the arrangement with the ESD #1— Kerens, Powell and 287 Richland Chambers. The ESD is funded by an ad valorem tax paid by property owners in the district.

“In our contract we’re to notify them of any significant events in the department, and I felt obligated to tell them what happened,” Bush said. “It’s taxpayer dollars, even though we’re reimbursed.”

Whether the money taken was from property taxes or from other sources wasn’t part of the criminal case, Miers said.

“I didn’t get into that part of the investigation,” he said. “It didn’t matter to me where the money came from. It belonged to the fire department and was used for personal use by their treasurer.

“Whether it was donated by Joe Blow, or if it came from a fundraiser, or the ESD, their bank account was missing a little over $2,900. We backtracked it and got an arrest warrant and put him in jail,” Miers said.

The ESD #1 board will offer some advice to the department on how to make their system safer, but it wasn’t just their money, said David Foreman, chairman of the ESD #1 board.

“We’re not the only one they get money from,” said David Foreman, chairman of the ESD #1 board. “We feel like our money’s accounted for. But we feel like they need a better system so their money can’t be taken.”

In the meantime, the Kerens Volunteer Fire Department is facing a shortage of funds as they go into their busiest time of the year — grass fire season.

“This has been a bad time last few weeks for the Kerens Fire Department,” Bush said. “It’s really unfortunate that this happened, but it shouldn’t be a reflection on the department because this is one bad apple. The other 99 percent of firefighters are super-dedicated and would never have done anything like this.”


Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email:


Text Only
Latest News
  • City, county start week with meetings

    The Navarro County Commissioners Court and the Cosicana City Council both have meetings set for Monday.

    July 28, 2014

  • 7-27-14 HayFire.jpg Hay fire closes Interstate 45

    A hay trailer fire Sunday on Interstate 45 near Richland shut down the highway

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • County values up for 2014

    The property value of Navarro County went up 5 1/2 percent in value for 2015, a rebound from the last two years when the city and county were reeling from the loss of some major companies’ plants.

    July 26, 2014

  • Mills place pool Home, sweet home

    Judy and Wayne Nelson had a family of visitors last week — the daughter and grandchildren of the architect who designed their 1927 house on Mills Place.

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • police stock photo Six arrested following drug raid

    Six people were arrested following the execution of a search warrant Thursday night by the Corsicana Police Department’s narcotics detectives, patrol officers and a Navarro County Sheriff’s deputy who works as a courtesy officer for the Arbors Apartment, 1300 N. 45th St.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25-14 AgriLife additions.jpg AgriLife adds two new agents to Navarro office

    It’s been awhile since the AgriLife Extension office in Navarro County has been fully staffed, but it’s going great guns now.
    New to the staff are Meredith DeBorde, and Lorie Stovall, who will be heading up the 4-H programs and the family and consumer programs, respectively.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks salary shuffle

    Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner went to the County Commissioner’s budget workshop Thursday to ask for a change of how his officers are compensated, or, alternately, an 8 percent across-the-board raise.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-25-14 CAC boat.jpg Floating a big fundraiser idea

    The big night is fast approaching for the 10 Grand Country Jam, an Aug. 2 fundraiser for the Child Advocates of Navarro County. What will make it a big night is the grand prize, a $31,000 pontoon boat.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candelario Garcia Jr. (main) Honoring a hero

    Since March of this year, the family of Candelario Garcia Jr. has been so proud of him, they could burst.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • County Budget Commissioners start budget process

    The Navarro County Commissioner’s Court held its first budget workshop Wednesday, the first of a dozen or more over the next month or so.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo