Scranton firefighter accused of stealing from Home Depot

Sept. 2—A Scranton firefighter is on paid administrative leave as he faces charges of stealing more than $2,100 in merchandise from a Dickson City retailer.

Dickson City police accused Darell Fratamico, 44, of 1926 E. Elm St., of taking mostly building materials and tools from the Home Depot on Commerce Boulevard on five separate days between June 11 and July 7.

In most cases, Fratamico scanned and paid for some items in his cart at the store’s checkout, but failed to scan and pay for others, police said.

In all, Fratamico left the store with $2,172 worth of merchandise that he failed to pay for, police said.

Fratamico waived his preliminary hearing on four counts of retail theft and two counts of receiving stolen property — all misdemeanors — during an appearance Monday at the Criminal Justice Center, transferring the case to Lackawanna County Court for possible trial. He also faces three summary counts of retail theft.

He remains free on a total of $10,000 unsecured bond.

Scranton Fire Chief John Judge said Thursday that Fratamico, who was hired as a firefighter on Aug. 28, 2007, was placed on paid administrative leave by the city on July 7. His current annual salary is $77,169.60, the chief said.

Attorney Gene Talerico, who represents Fratamico, declined to comment on the allegations.

Township police outlined the misdemeanor charges against Fratamico in four criminal complaints filed by Patrolman Christopher Tully, the first on July 26 and three more on Aug. 11.

In the July 26 complaint, Tully said township police were called to Home Depot on July 7 for a report of a shoplifter in custody, but were notified prior to arrival that the person had left the store and left in a vehicle.

Home Depot asset protection specialist William Barbara told police he confronted a man, who later identified himself as Fratamico and said he was a Scranton firefighter, as he was leaving the store after watching him scan about $128 worth of discounted items at self-checkout, but fail to scan other, mostly more expensive, items, the complaint said.

While constantly saying he was wrong and could pay for the merchandise, Fratamico reluctantly accompanied Barbara to the office, where she was told she would face a three-year ban from Home Depot, the complaint said. Fratamico told Barbara he couldn’t face the three-year ban, saying he had to shop for his contracting business.

Barbara described Fratamico as agitated and said he continued to ask if the authorities would be called before running out of the office and out of the store, the complaint said.

Tully said after contacting Fratamico the next day and asking him to come to the station to discuss the matter, he received a call from an attorney representing the firefighter.

A review of receipts from the July 7 incident showed Fratamico paid just over $128 for 25 items but did not scan 28 other items with a retail value of more than $613, the complaint said.

According to the other complaints, Tully reviewed surveillance video from Fratamico’s visits to Home Depot on June 11, June 23 and June 27, and during each of them he left the store without scanning or paying with certain items in his cart . The thefts were valued at $169 on June 11, $477 on June 23 and $723 on June 27, according to police.

Barbara, who told police she watched Fratamico fail to scan several items at the cash register on June 27, said she yelled at the firefighter to back off as he left the store, but Fratamico ignored him and continued toward his vehicle, she said the police.

The summary charges stem from Fratamico’s alleged theft of approximately $190 worth of merchandise from Home Depot on June 22, according to reports Tully filed with Magisterial District Judge John Pesota’s office.

Contact the author:

dsingleton@timesshamrock.com, 570-348-9132.

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