LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a firefighter Friday after deputies said he was allegedly caught stealing money by falsifying his time card three different times.
The sheriff’s office said Lance Taylor Dunn, 28, of Lakeland first accessed his online employee payroll information and added himself to a 24-hour shift he did not work on Sept. 13, 2022.
Dunn did this two more times on Oct. 22 and Nov. 21, which deputies said resulted in him getting paid a total of $1,265.04 for hours he didn’t work. The sheriff’s office said Dunn would add himself as “unassigned” to the shift after the assignments were completed by the chiefs, who had the sole authorization over scheduling.
“The Battalion Chief provided documentation showing Dunn had made the illegal changes to his time card,” a release said. “The Battalion Chief told detectives that members are assigned to specific positions when scheduled. He did not schedule Dunn for any shifts on the three dates in question.”
Supervisors with Polk County Fire Rescue eventually caught Dunn when he added himself to a shift on Nov. 30. The supervisors noticed the discrepancy before payroll was finalized.
According to the sheriff’s office, the suspect had been on unpaid personal leave since Nov. 16 because he was out of sick time and vacation time.
Dunn told Polk County detectives that he didn’t realize he had the permission in the system to add himself to a shift the first time he did it, but he kept adding himself to the shifts to make extra money, deputies said.
“Dunn not only stole money from Polk Fire Rescue, he stole taxpayers’ money,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “In addition, he embarrassed his colleagues who risk their lives for this community. Dunn resigned, and that is good because he no longer meets the high standards expected of public servants.”
Dunn was charged with grand theft and fraud. He resigned after his arrest, according to the sheriff’s office.