A New Hampshire county prosecutor said he has given Richard E. Fowler Jr., who was briefly Skowhegan’s fire chief last year, more time to consider a plea agreement or face a trial in Superior Court on felony theft charges.

Strafford County Attorney Thomas Velardi, who is prosecuting the case, said a scheduled hearing Wednesday has been moved to April 15.

“We’ve agreed to give Mr. Fowler two more weeks to think about whether he wanted to have a trial or do something else,” Velardi said Thursday. “I’m not sure how the plea offer is registering with him.”

Velardi said he could not discuss the offer he has made to Fowler.

Fowler, 48, pleaded not guilty to the charges in November.

Fowler, who was hired in Skowhegan in May, was indicted in October by a Strafford County grand jury. He faces 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of the class A felony.

The theft of money from a town government entity is alleged to have occurred between Nov. 1, 2009, and June 30, 2014.

He was fired Aug. 8 by Skowhegan Town Manager Christine Almand after about three months on the job when news of the criminal investigation came to light, though no reason was given at the time for his firing.

The theft was reported to authorities by a member of the Farmington, N.H., Fire Department, where Fowler was chief before coming to Skowhegan, Velardi said in August.

Velardi said the indictment alleges that more than $1,500 was stolen, but the investigation by the county attorney’s office revealed that it was “substantially more” than that. The money should have been on the books for the town of Farmington, but it was misdirected, he said.

Fowler replaced long-time Skowhegan chief Tom Keene, who was relieved of his duties in December 2013 after his legs were amputated because of diabetes complications.

Fowler’s attorney, John Durkin of Dover, N.H., has not returned calls for comment on the case.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow


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