Kiln fire chief and his wife were stealing money for two years, sheriff’s deputy says

The chief of the Kiln Volunteer Fire Department and his wife have been arrested after an investigation led to a warrant for their arrests.

Hancock County Sheriff’s Office investigator AJ Gambino said Earl James Necaise and Linda Eldridge, his wife, turned themselves in on Tuesday after warrants were issued for their arrests. Both were arrested on a charge of embezzlement.

Gambino said the sheriff’s office had received a complaint that Necaise and Eldridge had been stealing money from the Kiln Volunteer Fire Department. Necaise was the department’s chief and Eldridge served as the bookkeeper at the time of the theft, Gambino said.

“Our investigation shows that they stole about $6,500 over a two-year period,” he said. “The funds were stolen from checking and savings accounts.”

Gambino said the department is funded through the Hancock County Utility Board and private donations.