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WNEP - Northeastern Pennsylvannia
Mason Accused of Stealing from Lodge
Police say they have copies of checks like this one that Zupicick wrote to himself
Wednesday, April 26
By Andy Hirsch
Investigators say thousands were stolen from the Masonic Lodge in Shamokin. Now the lodge's secretary is accused of stealing the money.
The Masons are a fraternal order that pride themselves on their honesty and moral values. One of Shamokin's lodge members said he can't believe the group was robbed by one of its own.
Shamokin police have copies of dozens of checks made out to Paul Zupicick signed by Paul Zupicick, the secretary for the lodge. Officers said Zupicick wrote out more than $13,000 worth of checks between 2003 and 2005 and kept the Mason's money for himself.
Some in the community are outraged.
"I think that's terrible. To work someplace and to maybe have a better position than a clerk in a store and to take money, I think that's terrible," said Joni Anderson of Coal Township.
Jim Booth is the Mason trustee who discovered the missing money late last year. The group tried to settle the matter with Zupicick without involving police, but couldn't.
"We're hoping to (get our money back). But you can't get blood out of a stone either," Booth said. He added the money is used for everything from building upkeep to charitable donations. Both will be tough to do now.
Attempts to contact Zupicick at his home in Kulpmont Wednesday were unsuccessful.
According to court papers, he did write an apology to the Masons. In it he said, "I would like to take this time to tell everyone how sorry I am for what I have done. When you are down and out you do stupid things." He added, "I hope someday that you can forgive me."
"I think he's sorry for what he did. But that's not helping us out with what money that's disappeared. You would never think that they would have somebody that would take money from their, what we call brothers, of the lodge. Sometimes you find out it doesn't work out that way," Booth said.
Zupicick faces three charges of theft or receiving stolen property. Each carries a fine of up to $15,000 and seven year behind bars.