Demonstrating Iron's abilities

Former Jefferson County K-9 Officer Kyle Pisarcik is seen here in 2018 with K9 Iron during a demonstration of Iron’s drug finding skills.

BROOKVILLE — Former Jefferson County Sheriff Office’s K-9 officer Kyle A. Pisarcik waived his preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon before District Judge Gregory Bazylak. His case will now be transferred to the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas.

Pisarcik, 24, of Sykesville, is charged with Theft by Deception – False Impression, a felony, and forgery – alter writing, a misdemeanor, by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Jefferson County Sheriff Carl Gotwald said that both Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett and Jefferson County Judge John Foradora have recused themselves from the case.

Pisarcik worked in the sheriff’s department for the past five years and in 2017 became a K-9 handler. According to the affidavit of probable cause, in 2017 Pisarcik and the sheriff’s office raised the necessary money to purchase a K-9 named Iron and established a checking account at First Commonwealth Bank for the K-9 program. As part of Pisarcik’s responsibilities as the K-9 handler, he purchased the necessary supplies for care and training. He was also a signatory on the checking account and was required to get approval from Gotwald, Chief Deputy Sandra Means or Jefferson County Treasurer James Vansteenberg before making any purchases related to the K-9 program.

On Aug. 2, Gotwald, who was preparing the checking account for audit, discovered that some of the supporting documents provided by Pisarcik for purchases from Leerburg Enterprises, Inc., “were not sufficient to reconcile the account.” As a result, Gotwald contacted the company on Oct. 18 and was told that Pisarcik did have an account there, but that neither he nor the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office made any of the purchases that Pisarcik was claiming. Gotwald then called Pisarcik into his office along with Means and Sgt. Samuel Bartley.

According to the affidavit, Pisarcik didn’t understand why there was no record of his purchases from Leerburg. Gotwald told him to bring in his receipts and credit card statements for proof of purchase. The next day, Oct. 19, Pisarcik told Gotwald that he had “written the checks to himself without making any purchases from Leerburg. Pisarcik allegedly told Gotwald that he had had some financial problems and needed the money. He then resigned from the sheriff’s office and paid restitution for the two fraudulent purchases at Leerburg and other purchases he made via the checking account, totaling $4,865.75.

The affidavit goes on to say it was initially thought that this was the total sum owed to the sheriff’s office. However, Nicholas Scaife, accountant for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, audited the checking account and found more issues.

Pisarcik is accused of submitting two fake invoices from Haag’s Feed Store & Milling LLC that totaled $660. Haag’s provided the sheriff’s office with a sample invoice, which didn’t look like the ones Pisarcik had submitted. He allegedly also submitted a fake invoice from Shallow Creek Kennels, Inc. for $5,100.78. Gotwald called Shallow Creek and requested a copy of all invoices from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. There was no transaction found for that amount. Also, all of the kennel’s invoice numbers begin with a “17” but the invoices Pisarcik submitted began with an “82.”

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Scaife also found a submitted invoice from Shallow Creek for $350 that appears to be fraudulent because the invoice number 172496 is not on the kennel’s “all transactions list,” which includes everything purchased by the sheriff’s office.

Special Agent Matthew M. Seefeld, of the state AG’s office, determined that Pisarcik still owes $5,978.44 to the sheriff’s office.

With Pisarcik no longer working as the K-9 handler, Iron has a new handler, Matt Gilhousen with the Jefferson County Juvenile Probation Department. Gotwald said Iron is still doing the same job he did with Pisarcik but is now living with Gilhousen. Iron has been recertified with Gilhousen and is doing well, Gotwald said.

The K-9 checking account remains open until the case is settled and restitution made. Once restitution has been made it will be transferred over to the Probation Department for continued use for the K-9 program. Iron, Gotwald said, is still available as always to help area law enforcement. Other than getting a new handler and a new home, nothing has changed for Iron.

Online judicial records did not give a date for when Pisarcik will appear in Common Pleas Court.

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