WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A former firefighter was sentenced to
probation for stealing more than a quarter-million dollars from his
union while serving as the organization's secretary-treasurer.
Wichita firefighters weren't happy with the sentence ordered
Wednesday for their former colleague, Darrin Bruhn, 36, who now
lives in Texas. The sentence also didn't seem adequate to the judge
who ordered it. "It's my opinion that prison should be used for
people like you," Judge Tim Lahey told Bruhn.
But Lahey said he had no choice under the state sentencing laws
because the crime wasn't violent.
Bruhn apologized to the judge and a handful of firefighters in
the courtroom for embezzling about $270,000 over six years while
secretary-treasurer of the union. Part of the funds go to help the
children of firefighters.
"I fell into a routine of temptation, thinking I could always
fix it," Bruhn said. "But I fell into a situation where I was out
of control."
Bruhn's lawyer, Steve Mank, said his client has earned his
teaching certificate and is under contract to teach fourth-grade
special-education students in the fall. Mank said Bruhn has paid
back about $20,000. His outstanding balance is $250,504.50.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)