A New Mexico paramedic was charged with stealing a dead man’s debit card and using it to make cash withdrawals and purchases totaling over $11,000.
Police arrested Michael John Harcharik, 31, on Monday and charged him with stealing Allen Pearson’s debit card after he was dispatched to Pearson’s Santa Fe home on Feb. 25th.
Pearson died of complications from diabetes after Harcharik found him unresponsive at his home.
Pearson’s daughter, Rebecca Pearson, told police she noticed multiple unauthorized charges on her father’s debit card on Friday when she went to close his bank account after he died.
The unauthorized transactions included cash withdrawals and purchases of a riding lawn mower, dog food and car parts, according to KOB TV.
Rebecca Pearson reported the fraudulent activity to bank officials, who notified the police.
“[My father] died on Good Friday; I guess this guy went to town over the Easter weekend,” Rebecca told KOB.
One of the items Harcharik allegedly purchased was a $1,600 riding lawn mower.
In the police report obtained by KOB, officers who arrested Harcharik at his home observed grass that was “very short and appeared to have been recently mowed.”
Merchants who were interviewed by police said Harcharik made some of the purchases while wearing his Santa Fe fireman jacket and driving an ambulance.
Harcharik was apparently very well liked by his supervisors.
Santa Fe spokesman Matt Ross told KOB Harcharik will keep his job while the investigation is ongoing.
Ross said the narcissistic paramedic is being placed on “alternate duty” and won’t have any public interaction.
“We felt the best option was to continue to have this person performing non-public work duties as the investigation moves forward,” Ross said. “These are very serious allegations and we take them extremely seriously.”
Ross said the alternate duty would be determined by Harcharik’s supervisors.
“Like all Santa Feans, we are deeply concerned by the details beginning to emerge, and we want to assure the public that under no circumstances are these allegations representative of the high standards we demand from the members of the Santa Fe Fire Department,” said Fire Chief Erik Litzenberg.
“The public’s trust is critical to our job as Firefighters, EMTs, and Paramedics, and we have protocols in place to guide members of our department in exactly these types of situations,” said Litzenberg.
Harcharik was released Tuesday on $20,000 bond. He was previously arrested in 2010 on domestic assault charges, but those charges were dismissed.