Stephanie Warsmith?and Nick Glunt
The treasurer of the Akron fire union, charged with stealing from the union, waived extradition from North Carolina Monday.
This means Akron officers can travel to Mecklenburg County, N.C., get Joseph Ruhlin and return him to Akron so he can go through the court system here.
Ruhlin, accused of stealing as much as $100,000 from the union, fled Akron after charges were filed against him Thursday, authorities said. He reportedly left a suicide note at his Akron home and was driving to Florida when he was picked up Friday morning in Charlotte, N.C. He was held at the Mecklenburg County Jail.
Ruhlin, 40, is charged with theft, a fourth-degree felony. Police are investigating a theft of funds from Akron Fire Fighters Association Local 330, located at 161 Massillon Road, between January 2011 and March 2017, according to the Akron Police Department.
“Detectives are in the very early stages of the investigation,” according to a statement from Akron police. “No dollar amount has been determined at this time.”
The missing funds were from the union account and weren’t public funds or funds from the Akron Firefighters Credit Union, located in the same building as the fire union.
Some credit union members have contacted the credit union and fire union leaders, concerned that their money might have been involved. That isn’t the case, according to police, fire union leaders and credit union officials.
“The local is separate from the credit union,” said Linda Williams, chief executive of the credit union. “We got a couple of calls and some people were concerned — but we’re not affected by this.”
Russ Brode, president of the 322-member fire union, agreed.
“This in no way involved anyone’s money but Local 330 members,” he said.
Brode said he has received an outpouring of support from firefighters across Ohio since news of the theft broke. He said he appreciates the offers of assistance.
“We are going to get through this together,” Brode said. “Our local will be stronger when we’re done with this.”
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj . Nick Glunt can be reached at 330-996-3565 or email@example.com.