Resident accuses plumbing company of stealing from village

Former councilman: "A thief is a thief is a thief."
Heather Chapin-Fowler
Sep 7, 2013


A North Fairfield resident feels the owner of a local company should be prosecuted for depositing village utility checks into the company's account that have been erroneously delivered to his mailbox.

"I have no personal axe to grind in this.... a thief is a thief is a thief," said former Councilman Jack Pfanner, who has lived in the village for 40 years.

Over the last few years, Minnear and Simmons, a plumbing company, have accidentally received the village's mail and at times the envelopes addressed to the village have contained utility payments from residents, according to officials.

The United States Postal service has mistakenly put the village's mail in the business' mailbox on an unknown number of occasions. The village is listed at 3 E. Main Street and the business' address is 3 W. Main Street.

"It's an honest mistake. Mistakes happen and it's not a big deal," village Mayor Daniel Traxler said.

The resident received a late notice after paying the utility bill and approached village officials about the apparent error.

Since the company deposited the check, the paper trail revealed what had happened.

The village waived the resident's late fee and because the matter was handled promptly, there was no interruption to the resident's services, the mayor said.

The matter was brought up at a council meeting late last month by the village clerk during a discussion of changing a village policy that would bill landlords for utilities opposed to the tenants of rental property in the village, North Fairfield Administrator Carl Essex said.

Essex was concerned that the village clerk first brought the problem to officials' attention at the meeting.

"It came as a bit of a surprise. It was brought to our attention for the first time at this meeting by the clerk," Essex said.

The mayor is looking into how many times the problem has occurred and how much money has been misappropriated, Essex said.

"I only know of this last time. This was the only one that was brought to my attention," said Traxler who is serving his first term in office.

Essex nor Traxler had no complaints regarding the way Minnear and Simmons handled the last incident. Both officials said the company's representative returned the money in a timely fashion.

"They are a really good business in town," Traxler said.

Meanwhile, Pfanner feels village officials consider Minnear and Simmons a "sacred cow and the matter could potentially be swept under the rug," he said.

"I don't see any justification at all in Minnear and Simmons opening mail addressed to the village of North Fairfield and then depositing in their bank. I think it's a case of theft and should be turned over to the county prosecutor, Russ Leffler," Pfanner said.

Pfanner also feels the matter should never have gotten this far.

"When the clerk found this, she should have turned this over to the county prosecutor. To me, it's a simple case of theft," Pfanner said.

The owner of Minnear and Simmons could not be reached for comment.



They get checks on a daily basis, but you still have to do your book keeping right. The first check would of shown something was wrong, when you have no invoice to attach it to. This is totally theft and yes someone should be charged with it. Time to break open that bank account and start seeing how many of these checks have been deposited. This person become a criminal as soon as they deposited the very first check.


How did the BANK not catch the error either? A lot of questions that need answered. Many redflags that should have been raised and STOPPED this from happening.


This problem is caused by one error after another. The first one coming when the post office puts the mail in the wrong box, the second when Minniear & Simmons opens and stamps a check for deposit that is not made out to them, the third would be M&S bank not catching that who the check is made out to and endorsed by do not match and fourth when it passed through the bank that it was drawn off of doesn't catch the discrepancy. At no level of these errors is there any malicious or criminal actions, they are errors - careless oversights is about the worst they could be called...not criminal. When the errors are discovered, M&S has made payment back to the Village to rectify the situation.


In other words..when they got caught they made payment back. Don't sugarcoat it "momschaosx4".


With this kind of employee performance, is it any wonder that employers are leaving
Huron county in droves? Keep up the good work everybody. (sarcasm)


I think she is 100 % right. I have had my own small company for a lil over a decade and I don't look at the envelope before I open it. I get it rip it open and put the checks in a pile unroll I go to the bank... I cant believe the bank didn't catch it, but when you bring in a lot of checks st once they are not going to think anything is funny about a few hundred dollars when you are depositing thousands every week.... pfanner has a stick stuck somewhere, and obviously has an ax to grind... its a few hundred dollars and he wants to run the company out of town. What a idiot


Lets see,
Open a letter not addressed to you.
Endorsing the check even when it doesn't list your business as payee, nor having it connect to an outstanding account.
depositing the check in the bank.
Then not getting charged when found out?

Scranton Tibbs