Darrington fire commissioner charged with theft from hardware store

Dayn Brunner, 50, worked at Do It Best Hardware for about six months in 2019. He’s accused of stealing $6,300.

Dayn Brunner (Herald file)

Dayn Brunner (Herald file)

DARRINGTON — A Darrington fire commissioner has been charged with first-degree theft for over $6,000 that was stolen from a hardware store where he worked.

Dayn Brunner, 50, was elected as commissioner for Snohomish County Fire District 24 in September 2017.

In August 2019, a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy responded to a report of an employee theft at Do It Best Hardware at 1220 Highway 530 in Darrington.

The caller reported Brunner had been the store manager for about six months in 2019. In that time, Brunner reportedly took cash from the till, issued himself return transactions without buying anything, and used a business fuel card to fill up the tank of his personal vehicle, a deputy wrote.

According to the deputy’s report, Brunner stole $2,300 from the store till in August 2019. The next day, another employee contacted Brunner to ask about the missing money.

“Brunner kept putting (the employee) off by making excuses as to how his time needed to be spent at the moment she needed to talk to him,” the deputy wrote.

The Darrington man was reportedly fired on Aug. 14, 2019. An investigation suggested that between the months of March and August 2019, Brunner stole about $6,300 from the store.

Brunner’s name has been in the media before: His sister Summer Raffo, 36, died in the Highway 530 mudslide in 2014, and he has spoken candidly and publicly about the trauma of the loss.

In 2018, the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission found Brunner failed to file a personal financial affairs statement for the previous calendar year, when he ran for fire commissioner. The PDC ordered he pay a $1,500 penalty.

Brunner has continued to serve as a commissioner this year. He has never been convicted of a felony.

The Darrington man is being represented by the Law Offices of Lance Fryrear.

“We believe he’s innocent of all charged wrongdoing,” a spokesperson said on the phone.

Fire district spokesperson Drew Bono said he could not comment on the charges.

Theft in the first degree is a felony. Brunner pleaded not guilty to the charge in April. His next court date is set for May 18.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen.

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