WILLINGBORO, N.J. (WPVI) -- A well-respected firefighter in New Jersey now stands accused of robbing a bank.
Andrew Baldinger, 42, of Westampton is charged with the robbery at the TD Bank in Willingboro on Friday afternoon.
Those who know him wonder if his crushing medical bills had anything to do with it.
Baldinger, known to friends as "Bucky," is accused of slipping a teller a note that said "give me all of your 50's and 100's. I have a gun. I don't want to use it."
"Well, we are very shocked of course. Buck's a real nice guy. Once we found out we had to put him on administrative leave," said Burlignton Township Fire Director John Stewart.
"That's not the person that I would know that would do something like that. Something else had to set it off," said Beverly Council President Robert Bancroft.
Baldinger is a longtime member and former president of the Beverly-Edgewater Park Emergency Squad and a lieutenant with the Burlington Township fire department.
Friends say he's been dealing with a host of serious health issues and has been in and out of the hospital. A GoFundMe site was set up in March to help him with his overwhelming medical bills.
Mike Stewart worked with Baldinger for years at the emergency squad.
"I'm not sure what his insurance was or anything else like that, but I know he was always trying to work as many jobs as he could to make sure he could pay his bills," said Mike Stewart of Beverly.
It's unclear if unpaid medical bills were the motive for the robbery.
On his Facebook page friends are registering their shock. One woman writes she "cannot imagine the level of desperation it must have taken to either need the money so badly or need to have the state take care of your medical needs. Praying that Bucky finds the help he needs"
"He was involved in so much of the town you would never expect something like this," said Bancroft.
Authorities say Baldinger is facing weapons charges because even while he didn't have a gun, he threatened he did through his note.
His family declined to comment.
Baldinger is being held on $75,000 bail.
Firefighter charged with Willingboro bank robbery
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