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Hellertown’s Ex-Police Chief Accused of Stealing Nearly $125,000 from Borough


Following an investigation conducted by Northampton County law enforcement agents that was initiated by the borough of Hellertown earlier this fall, former borough police chief Robert Shupp III has been charged with stealing nearly $125,000 in borough funds in the course of his employment as chief.

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Hellertown Police

Above, a Hellertown Police Department SUV sits parked outside the police department, which is located on the first floor of Hellertown Borough Hall. (FILE PHOTO)

Following an investigation conducted by Northampton County law enforcement agents that was initiated by the borough of Hellertown earlier this fall, former borough police chief Robert Shupp III has been charged with stealing nearly $125,000 in borough funds in the course of his employment as chief.

According to documents related to the case, Shupp is accused of fraudulently submitting more than 1,600 hours of comp time for which he was allegedly paid more than $81,000 from 2020 through 2023; of stealing nearly $20,000 in seized funds from a safe that was kept in his office; and of running a scheme by which he allegedly stole over $23,000 in petty cash from the borough.

An affidavit of probable cause included in the criminal complaint filed in Northampton County District Court Friday notes that when Shupp–who’s a resident of Bushkill Township–was promoted to the position of police chief in 2009, “he entered into an agreement whereby ‘The employee shall receive no additional compensation for hours worked in excess of the normal scheduled hours.'”

“When questioned regarding this matter, the accused produced ‘comp time logs,'” county investigators said, further noting in their affidavit that “(Shupp) was only able to produce logs from 2019 as well as a log for 2022-2023” and that “the logs were not consistent with the hours of comp time submitted by the accused, according to (Borough of Hellertown) Attorney (Jeffrey) Stewart.”

The affidavit stated that Cpl. John Donato of the Hellertown Police Department reviewed records dating back to 2015 for the “seizure safe” that was located in Shupp’s office and that the amount of funds in the safe “should have been $19,832, based on department records.”

Instead, authorities said that when it was opened there was only $32.58 in the safe.

The missing money–totaling $19,766.93–should have been deposited into the Northampton County Drug Task Force’s Seizure Account, the affidavit said, but “a search of Drug Task Force records revealed one deposit into the account which was in 2015 for the amount of $33.”

Shupp is further accused of profiting to the tune of $23,390 by allegedly creating phony requests for petty cash to be used for undercover drug investigations.

According to investigators, he did this by forging the names of other law enforcement officers as “witnesses” on a form he would then submit to the borough’s finance manager.

The affidavit stated that Shupp “would typically request the funds in $20 bills” and noted that when investigators spoke to approximately half a dozen current or former local law enforcement officers whose names were listed, none could “recall signing the forms as a witness for funds from Hellertown Borough.”

Additionally, county detectives said that a Hellertown police investigator who is also a county drug task force member reviewed the forms and found that “the incident numbers/control numbers noted on the forms submitted by (Shupp)…were not numbers used by the Hellertown Borough Police Department or the Northampton County Drug Task Force.”


Former Hellertown police chief Robert W. Shupp III, above, has been charged with 16 felony counts of theft, receiving stolen property, tampering with public records and forgery following an investigation into what were previously described as “payroll discrepancies.” Shupp resigned his position in October, after 20-plus years with the department. He was arrested on the charges and released following a preliminary arraignment Monday. (FILE PHOTO)

Shupp, 47, resigned in October after borough council said staff had discovered what it then described as “payroll discrepancies” it intended to share with the state attorney general’s office.

According to court records, the attorney general’s office later contacted the Northampton County District Attorney’s office, which assigned county detectives to investigate the anomalies.

The DA’s office announced the results of its investigation in a news release Monday, in which it said Shupp had been arrested on 16 felony theft, forgery and other charges.

“The Criminal Complaint filed by the District Attorney’s Office charges that…Shupp used his position as Chief of Police to unlawfully obtain from the Borough of Hellertown funds totaling approximately $122,282 through the fraudulent submission of falsified official employment time records, fictitious police investigation/operational cash requests and the actual taking of certain cash belonging to the Borough of Hellertown to which only he had physical access,” the release from District Attorney Terry Houck said. “The Police Complaint filed against the Defendant also alleges that the defendant forged the names of numerous other individuals as witnesses to his numerous requests for fictitious police investigation/operational cash requests from the Borough’s monetary reserves.”

In addition to listing the 18 charges he is facing, the court docket filed in Shupp’s case indicated that he was released on his own recognizance and not required to post bail following his preliminary arraignment Monday.

His next scheduled court appearance is a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 4 at 9 a.m. before Judge Nicholas Englesson at District Court 03-2-11 in Bethlehem.

Borough officials on Facebook acknowledged the fact that charges have been filed against Shupp and in a public statement said they “take our role as stewards of taxpayer money very seriously.”

“To that end, once the Borough discovered these issues, we conducted an internal investigation and contacted appropriate authorities,” it continued.

Hellertown officials thanked the DA’s office for its investigatory work and referred questions to that office, stating they “will have no further comment as we allow the criminal process to play out.”

The acting chief of the Hellertown Police Department is Ofc. Dominick Fragano, who was appointed to fill the position at council’s Dec. 4 meeting.

Council also approved agreements with the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association to assist with the search for a new chief and to conduct a full operational assessment of the police department.

At the same meeting, council approved spending more than $4,000 on security camera upgrades in and around Borough Hall to include the installation of a camera in the police department’s evidence room.

Councilman Andrew Hughes advocated for the expenditure, which he said was based in part on an immediate need resulting from a security gap that “was identified a couple of months ago.”

Shupp is being represented by attorney Gary Asteak, who told the Morning Call his client has fully cooperated with the investigation and that the charges don’t tell the whole story.

Saucon Source contacted the Asteak Law Offices to request further comment on the charges and will update this story if additional information is received.

Note: All individuals arrested or charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. This story was compiled using information from the Northampton County District Attorney’s office and Northampton County court records.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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