Assistant Fire Chief Quits One Week After Theft Charge

CLEARWATER, FL — Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Ron Gemsheim resigned Monday, one week after he was charged in the theft of a 5-hour Energy drink from a 7-Eleven while on duty.

Gemsheim had been with the department for 10 years and had been assistant chief of health and safety since 2012, according to spokesman Rob Shaw.

Chief Robert Weiss had not yet made a determination on Gemsheim’s employment but said last week that he was reviewing the case. He said Gemsheim was on a pre-planned vacation from Tuesday to Friday.

7-Eleven store manager Thomas Bryan said he watched Gemsheim enter the store around 7 a.m. Feb. 22 and fill two complimentary fountain drinks the store gives free to first responders before putting a 5-hour Energy in his right front pocket without paying.

Bryan said he confronted Gemsheim outside the store, and Gemsheim put the $3.29 drink back on the shelf and drove away.

After Bryan called police and filed a report, Gemsheim was not arrested but charged with one count of misdemeanor theft and given a notice to appear in court March 22.

Shaw said Gemsheim told officers “the theft was an accident and he forgot to pay for the item.”

Earlier this month, he received the 2016 Public Safety and Service award from the Clearwater Rotary Club.


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