Former Murray County resident violates probation; is court ordered against joining volunteer fire departments

SLAYTON – A former Avoca resident who was convicted of receiving stolen property back in 2009 is now told he can not apply to be a member of any fire departments in Minnesota. Joshua DeGuara, age 36, of Winona, was recently convicted of probation violation in Murray County District Court. In 2008, he was charged with receiving stolen property after stealing thousands of dollars worth of equipment, fuel and turnout gear from the Avoca Fire Department. He was sentenced to a year in jail, and after serving his sentence moved to Winona.

He attempted to become a member of the Stockton First Responders, but his criminal background was discovered before he could complete his training. He was convicted of theft, domestic assault and driving without a valid license in Winona County, which triggered a parole violation on his Murray County case.

Recently, DeGuara had joined the Hidden Valley Fire Department without disclosing his background, and members got suspicious when equipment started to disappear. They contacted law enforcement, but before they could confront DeGuara, a Winona County Deputy learned the firefighter wannabe was listening to scanning equipment and showing up on other departments’ calls, portraying himself as an EMT from the Hidden Valley Department, even though he has no medical training.

At the probation hearing in Slayton, DeGuara was sentenced to 15 months in prison, stayed on the condition he serve 30 days in jail or electronic home monitoring. Other conditions state he must undergo a psychological evaluation and is forbidden to become an EMT or join a volunteer fire department. He is also forbidden to own, use or possess any scanner equipment.

DeGuara was previously convicted of impersonating a firefighter in the state of California.

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