Two Wilmington fire department captains charged with embezzlement of city property

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Robert David Kidd
Robert David Kidd

WILMINGTON – Two Wilmington Fire Department captains are facing felony charges in an embezzlement case involving the use of and, in one case, the attempted sale of fire department property.

Robert David Kidd, 45, of Wilmington, was arrested Wednesday on charges of embezzlement by a public official or trustee and obtaining property by false pretenses, according to court records. City of Wilmington Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert said Kidd is currently on medical leave and serves at fire department headquarters on Market Street. He has been employed with the city since 1995.

According to an arrest warrant, Kidd is charged with using a chain saw and leaf blower valued at $11,000, which belonged to the Wilmington Fire Department. The alleged offense occurred on March 20. He is also charged with trying to pawn a stolen leaf blower to obtain money on Feb. 2.

Kidd was booked at the New Hanover County jail under a $15,000 unsecured bond. He was released from jail shortly after his arrest Wednesday.

Former Wilmington Fire Department Capt. Kenneth Winston Altman, 47, of Wilmington, has been charged with two counts of larceny, embezzlement by a public official or trustee, and obtaining property by false pretense, according to court records.

He turned himself in to the New Hanover County Jail on Aug. 2 and was later released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. On Aug. 11, he was arrested and was released the same day on a $5,000 secured bond, jail records show.

Kenneth Winston Altman
Kenneth Winston Altman

According to arrest warrants, he is charged with embezzling a chainsaw, a fire alarm box and a hazard house fire training display that belonged to the city. That crime is said to have happened on Feb. 4.

Altman has also been charged with the July 19 larceny of a boat engine and accessories worth $15,000, as well as the June 30 larceny of a utility trailer worth $8,800 that belonged to Life Point Church.

Additionally, Altman has been charged with obtaining property by false pretense. In this case, he allegedly took $4,200 from the victim as the cost for a boat motor and its installation. He provided neither labor not the engine and did not return the money, according to court documents.

Altman resigned from the fire department on Aug. 10, Talbert said. He had been employed with the fire department since 2000 and most recently served Station No. 6 on Carolina Beach Road.

“This is an unfortunate situation that we take very seriously. Certainly the department will cooperate fully with law enforcement officials to gather more information and complete this investigation as soon as possible,” Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette said.