IRVINE – A veteran firefighter-paramedic has been charged with two misdemeanor counts each of petty theft and commercial burglary after police say they caught him stealing cash from his captain’s wallet at their Irvine fire station.
Gregory Mark Konishi, 50, a Rancho Santa Margarita resident, has worked for Orange County Fire Authority for 25 years.
Irvine police detectives conducted surveillance in the case after fire Capt. Mark Ledford reported an “ongoing issue” of someone taking small amounts of cash from his wallet over 12 to 18 months. The incidents occurred when his wallet was in the closet in a private bedroom while he exercised, the captain said.
Konishi was video-recorded taking a police-provided $20 bill from Ledford’s wallet on two occasions, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. In one video, Konishi is seen carrying the wallet out of the room and returning it about nine minutes later, Irvine police Detective Shaheen Jahangard declares in the affidavit.
He has pleaded not guilty to all four misdemeanor counts filed against him. A pretrial hearing is scheduled Feb. 5.
Kay Rackauckas, the attorney listed in court records as representing Konishi in the case, did not return a message left at her office Tuesday morning requesting comment.
The pay for the job Konishi held ranges from $70,760 to $95,139 a year depending on factors such as overtime, Fire Authority spokesman Kris Concepcion said. That doesn’t include benefits.
He was placed on paid administrative leave after his arrest Nov. 8 and retired Dec. 28, said Joe Kerr, a spokesman for Orange County Professional Firefighters Association.
Officials with the Fire Authority and the labor union said they took the situation seriously because keeping the public’s trust is vital to their work.
Firefighters and paramedics often go into homes during frantic situations late at night and residents head off to the hospital in a rush, so firefighters must be above reproach, Kerr said.
The Fire Authority provides blaze-fighting and paramedic services for Irvine, which does not have a city fire department. Fire station No. 38, where the incidents are alleged to have occurred, is at 26 Parker in Irvine.
By THOMAS MARTINEZ/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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