Authorities arrested a Santa Fe, New Mexico, paramedic April 11 for allegedly stealing $11,000 from a dead man’s debit card.
Police threw Michael John Harcharik, 31, in jail after the deceased man’s daughter, Rebecca Pearson, went to shut down her father’s bank account on April 8 and noticed a variety of transactions, including cash withdrawals and purchases, the Associated Press reports. The purchases ranged from a riding lawn mower to dog food.
"[Harcharik] was just having the time of his life, it looked like," she told the AP. "He took over half of what was in there, and he would've taken it all, obviously, had they not frozen the account on [April 8]."
Harcharik reportedly stole the man’s debit card while the man was receiving treatment March 25 and began spending money after the man passed away.
Pearson explained that she had written her father's pin code number on the back of the debit card, making it easy for the paramedic to access the account.
While the paramedic spent April 11 in jail, he was released the next day. His attorney, Joseph Walsh, has declined to comment on the case.
Pearson's father died from complications related to diabetes.
Harcharik has been employed with the Santa Fe Fire Department since 2009 after working at the county jail. He will reportedly remain employed during the investigation but will not be interacting with the public while he is on "alternative duty."
This is not the first time Harcharik has faced criminal charges, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
He has been booked in Santa Fe County jail five times since year 2002 for various assault and battery charges, but there were no convictions on record.
The man had reportedly passed all background checks while applying for his job as a paramedic.
The Fire Department said they will now be performing an internal review to ensure all their other paramedics are trustworthy. Chief Erik Litzenberg of the Santa Fe Fire Department said in a statement:
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. The public’s trust is critical to our job as Firefighters, EMTs, and Paramedics, and we have extensive training and protocols in place to guide members of our department in exactly these types of situations.