Former Woodland fire chief accused of theft by deception

Wife also arrested on Dec. 23

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Woodland police arrested a former fire chief and city council candidate for allegedly using $5,000 he received from a 75-year-old woman for campaign expenses to pay off a personal debt.

Anthony “Tony” Brentin was arrested on suspicion of first-degree theft by deception and booked into the Cowlitz County Jail on Saturday, according to a Woodland Police Department bulletin.

Brentin allegedly accepted a $5,000 personal check in October that was to be used for campaign related expenses in his bid for city council, the 75-year-old alleged victim told police. Brentin then allegedly used the money to pay off a personal debt to a housing firm, police said.

In October, a Cowlitz County Superior County judge ordered Brentin to reimburse an Oregon couple for unpaid rent, utilities and other costs. He wrote a check for more than $4,800 two days later.

His arrest was the second in the case.

On Dec. 23 police arrested Brentin’s wife, Shari Brentin, on suspicion of one count of first-degree theft, three counts of obtaining a signature by deception or duress and two counts of first-degree criminal impersonation.

She allegedly assumed the identity of the same woman’s daughter to cash a $5,000 check. Shari Brentin also allegedly conned the woman into believing Brentin’s cat had cancer, the vet would only take cash for treatments and the cat would be put down if payments weren’t made.

Shari confessed to taking more than $10,000 from the alleged victim saying it would be used for vet bills and then using $8,000 to pay of personal bills, police said.

Police were alerted to the alleged deception on Dec. 7, when a bank manager reported the alleged victim withdrew $10,000 from the bank after never withdrawing more than $100 at a time, court documents said. Shari Brentin began accompanying the woman to the bank around the same time the large withdrawal happened, police said.

Police say the investigation is ongoing.

Tony Brentin lost his city council bid to Marshall Allen this fall.

The (Longview) Daily News contributed to this story.