Suspected firefighter impersonator surrenders on new charges
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – A Denver man accused of impersonating a firefighter and stealing firefighting equipment now faces charges in two Colorado counties.
Michael Maher, 30, surrendered to authorities at the Jefferson County Jail Friday on charges of felony Theft, felony Criminal Impersonation and Impersonating a Public Servant.
He was being held on a $20,000 bond.
“In early April, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office took a report that firefighting equipment that had been assigned to an individual who reported himself to be a firefighter,” said Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Ralph Gallegos. “That equipment was never returned.”
Investigators reportedly found a chainsaw and other firefighting equipment at Maher’s Denver apartment.
Maher’s attorney says his client wasn’t out to steal, but instead, trying to help.
“(Maher) truly wanted to help fire authorities and thought he could,” said David Beller of Recht Kornfeld PC. “He now realizes that his decisions could have potentially caused more harm than good and he regrets these decisions. He continues to be remorseful and humiliated and his thoughts remain with the victims of the fires and the heroic firefighters in their efforts.”
Earlier this month, Maher was arrested in Larimer County on similar charges after investigators say he was caught posing as a High Park firefighter, driving a truck with a stolen government license plate and carrying stolen firefighting gear.
Court records show Maher was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Eagle County in 2003, likely disqualifying him from being employable as a wildland firefighter.