Last updated: February 14. 2014 11:19PM - 1397 Views
By - rdupuis@timesleader.com

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WILKES-BARRE — A May 12 trial date has been set for a theft case against Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Chief John Yuknavich.

Yuknavich and counsel appeared briefly Friday before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough.

Prosecutors allege Yuknavich, 50, took more than $40,000 from 2008 through 2011 by bringing $3,500 checks to the Wilkes-Barre City Employee’s Federal Credit Union, where the fire department account — as well as a personal account for Yuknavich — existed, but often depositing only part of the checks, taking some or all of the $3,500 as cash.

That is one of two cases pending against Yuknavich.

Oral arguments were heard in state Superior Court Jan. 29 in the battle over a 2011 theft case in which Yuknavich is accused of stealing $11,865 in multiple withdrawals from the fire department’s accounts and using the department’s Sam’s Club credit card for personal use.

The case is before Superior Court because prosecutors are challenging a decision by Luzerne County Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. that prohibited the use of a Nov. 8, 2008, bank withdrawal and 15 bounced checks.

On Feb. 12, 2013, Sklarosky ruled the bank withdrawal and bounced checks were not part of a Jan. 31 court filing he had accepted.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Melnick disagreed, telling the judge the bank withdrawal and bounced checks were in other court papers he filed.

Sklarosky was forced to continue the trial indefinitely on Feb. 13, 2013 after Melnick appealed his ruling to Superior Court.

No opinion had been issued on the appeal as of Friday afternoon.

Defense attorney Barry Dyller previously has said there is no deadline for a Superior Court decision, but noted that whatever the outcome, the case will return to county court for trial.

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