Indian River County refuses to pay invoice surrounding stolen tires

IRC Asst. Fire Chief faces grand theft charges

VERO BEACH, Fla. - Indian River County Commissioners Tuesday asked a representative from Goodyear why no one in their shop thought anything was suspicious as former Assistant Fire Chief Brian Burkeen made several major tire purchases.

“Because he’d been buying tires for multiple years so no reason to suspect that he was not telling us the truth," said Goodyear Regional District Manager Jim Pettit.

Burkeen was arrested in March and faces a first degree grand theft charge, for buying nearly 300-thousand dollars worth of tires, then allegedly reselling them.

“The volume of the tires to me would raise some warning flags that I think Goodyear has some responsibility here," said Commissioner Peter O'Bryan.

When the county began purchasing tires from a different Goodyear location in late 2016, the average monthly tire purchase more than doubled.

“We want to make sure no one at the Goodyear store was knowledgeable of the activities that were going on," said County Administrator Jason Brown.

The county Tuesday refused to pay a final $27,000 invoice until the investigation into Brian Burkeen was complete.  Brown said they are working with the Clerk of Court to figure out what new measures could be put in place to prevent this kind of activity.

“External auditors have signed off on our financial statements and have stated that our internal controls are adequate," said Brown.

Brown also says the county wants to send a strong message here.

“We hope that a severe price is paid here through the legal system here.  We’re hoping there’s a significant amount of jail time.”

Burkeen has a court date scheduled for later this month.

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