Former Indian Land fire chief, accused in prostitution, charged with embezzlement

Thomas Wayne Pickard
Thomas Wayne Pickard York County Sheriff's Office

The former Indian Land fire chief in Lancaster County has been arrested for embezzlement from the department, officials said.

Thomas Wayne Pickard, 52, who resigned after he was charged in December with prostitution in York County, was charged Wednesday.

Pickard was arrested by Lancaster County deputies, charged with a single count of embezzlement of public funds, said Doug Barfield, spokesman for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.

Pickard is accused of withdrawing $1,680 from Indian Land Volunteer Fire Department funds between Jan. 8, 2018, and Dec. 13, 2018, according to warrants.

Pickard is being held under a $2,000 bond on the charge of embezzlement under $10,000, according to Lancaster County jail officials. Pickard had his first appearance in court, jail officials said.

Lancaster County Emergency Management Director Darren Player said after the December arrest, Pickard resigned his full-time job as a lieutenant at Lancaster County Fire and Rescue. He also resigned as chief and a member from the Indian Land fire department.

Pickard was one of seven people charged with prostitution after a raid at a Carowinds area motel.

Police used websites that cater to illegal sex activity as part of that investigation, authorities said.

All the arrests were made at a motel near the North Carolina state line, close to exit 90 off Interstate 77.

The prostitution case remains pending in York County, according to South Carolina court records.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.