Huntington County official arrested for theft

Mug shot of Joseph Rakoczy, courtesy of the Huntington County Jail.
Mug shot of Joseph Rakoczy, courtesy of the Huntington County Jail.

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE)  Police arrested Joseph Rakoczy, the Huntington County Chief Environmental Sanitarian, Tuesday morning.  Rakoczy, is accused of using his county credit card to purchase $25 in gas for his personal vehicle, according to Indiana State Police.

ISP Public Information Officer Ron Galaviz said in October of 2013, the Huntington County auditor noticed the charge on Rakoczy’s credit card and reported it to police.

Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison had D.J. Sigler appointed as special prosecutor to avoid the appearance of a conflict, Sigler told NewsChannel 15.

The alleged one-time purchase of $25 for 7.005 gallons of gas left Rakoczy charged with one count of class D felony theft.

“In care and in the trust of public funds, I found it important to charge him as a felony,” Sigler said. “Now, it may be that the case ultimately resolves in a misdemeanor.”

According to the Probable Cause, the initial complaint against Rakoczy was that he didn’t stop at the County Garage for gas, as policy requires. The county contracts gas for a cheaper price than gas stations, all county employees are therefore required to get fuel at the County Garage.

An email exchange between County Auditor Cindy Yeiter and Rakoczy is included in the Probable Cause. In it, Rakoczy writes to Yeiter:

“No county policy was violated in this transaction and I take great offense to the implication that I may have done something wrong. I think this email is yet another continued example of the harassment that my department faces regarding claims from your employee.”

In her response to Rakoczy, Yeiter writes:

“I am not apologizing my [sic] any means; I am doing my job. This money is the taxpayers and whether it is an employee, the Department Head, or Elected official we should strive to conserve those precious dollars to the maximum. I sincerely hope you would agree.”

Read the full Probable Cause here.

In an interview with police, Rakoczy repeatedly said he had put gas in a county Department of Health vehicle, according to the Probable Cause. However, police apparently obtained a DVD of Rakoczy putting the fuel into his Chevy Malibu, not a county truck.

After some back and forth with police, he admitted to making up the story to try to save his job.

ISP investigated the incident.  The Huntington County Sheriff’s Department assisted with Rakoczy’s arrest.

Yeiter said she had no comment regarding the case when asked about it via phone.

Rakoczy was released from the Huntington County jail on bond around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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