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Updated Jun 18, 2013 - 9:25 am

Ariz. ex-fire chief facing theft charges now mayor

FLORENCE, Ariz. -- A former acting Hayden fire chief accused of theft and trafficking in stolen property has been sworn in as the community's mayor.

KPHO-TV reports that 37-year-old Charles Vega was sworn in Monday after winning the seat in March.

He was arrested a month before his election by Pinal County sheriff's deputies for allegedly taking money from a fundraising dance for the Hayden Volunteer Fire Department and chainsaws meant for the Asarco Mine in Kearney.

Vega was removed as the fire chief and is a former worker at the Asarco Mine.

He told KPHO-TV he's innocent until proven guilty.

The incumbent that Vega beat in the election, Monica Badillo, says Vega should step down.

A pretrial conference for Vega's case is slated for next month.

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Information from: KPHO-TV, http://www.kpho.com/

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