Scranton firefighter charged with thefts from Home Depot

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Sep. 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, 1926 E. Elm St., of taking mostly construction materials and tools from Home Depot on Commerce Boulevard on five separate days between June 11 and July 7.

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

In all, Fratamico left the store with $2,172 worth of merchandise 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, moving the case on to Lackawanna County Court for possible trial. He also faces three summary retail theft counts.

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

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

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

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

In the July 26 complaint, Tully said borough police were called to Home Depot on July 7 for a report of a shoplifter in custody but were notified before arrival that the subject fled 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 walked from the store after watching him scan about $128 worth of lower-priced items at the self-checkout, but fail to scan other, mostly more costly items, the complaint said.

While continually saying he made a mistake and that he could pay for the merchandise, Fratamico reluctantly accompanied Barbara to the office, where he was informed he would face a three-year ban from Home Depot, the complaint said. Fratamico told Barbara he could not deal with a three-year ban, saying he needed to shop for his contracting business.

Barbara described Fratamico as agitated and said he kept asking whether authorities would be called before running out of the office and out of the store, the complaint said.

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

A review of the 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 visits Fratamico made to Home Depot on June 11, June 23 and June 27 and during each of those he left the store without scanning or paying with certain items in his cart. The value of the thefts were $169 on June 11, $477 on June 23, and $723 on June 27, police said.

Barbara, who told police he watched Fratamico fail to scan several items at the checkout June 27, said he shouted to the firefighter to step back as he departed the store but Fratamico ignored him and continued to his vehicle, police said.

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

Contact the writer:

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

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