David Chang

House Fire Leads to Electrical Theft Charges Against Police Chief's Assistant

An assistant for the Bucks County police chief is now facing charges after investigators say she and her husband stole thousands of dollars' worth of electricity to power appliances inside their home.

Faith Friedhofer, the office manager and administrative assistant for Falls Township Police chief Bill Wilcox, and her husband Donald Watson are charged with theft of services, receiving stolen property, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy to commit theft of services. 

The investigation began back on December 17, 2015 shortly before 7:30 a.m. when firefighters and police responded to the couple’s home on the 200 block of Centre Street in Fairless Hills for a fire. PECO officials also responded to the home and disabled the power so that firefighters could safely bring the fire under control. When a PECO worker pulled out the electrical meter to disconnect power inside the home he noticed several spotlights were still on outside the house, officials said.

“If you think something is secured and unbeknownst to you the power is still on, you can get somebody hurt,” said Falls Township Fire Marshal Rich Dippolito. “You can get somebody shocked.”

Officials then determined Friedhofer and Watson were illegally taking electricity from a utility pole located directly behind their home.

Investigators say the couple stole electricity from the pole and used it for several appliances, including a Jacuzzi, tanning bed, refrigerator, and flat screen televisions. In all, officials believe the couple stole nearly $20,000 worth of electricity.

Watson is also accused of stealing from the Fairless Hills Athletic Association, allegedly ripping out six golf car batteries which caused more than $1,000 in damage.

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“The way I look at it is you’re stealing from my kids and you’re stealing from the kids of this community if you’re coming to a little league scavenging and stealing,” said Little League coach Eric David.

NBC10 reached out to Chief Wilcox but he told us he can’t comment on the incident. Friedhofer and her husband are both out on bail.

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