Security nabs man stealing gas from tanks http://www.privateofficer.com
Officers said Shawn LaFollette, 37, of Silverton, had parked his goose neck trailer over a tank at the Pacific Pride Station at 205 Columbia St. NE.
When the security officer approached him, LaFollette had been pumping fuel out of an underground storage tank, police said.
Authorities said LaFollette told the security officer he was at the gas station to pressure-wash the lot, but the officer spotted the hose leading to the tank and notified police
LaFollette was taken into custody on charges of theft, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. He was booked into the Marion County Correctional Facillity.
His truck and trailer, which had the capability of storing more than 1,000 gallons of fuel, were seized as evidence, police said.
Chet Foster — who works at a nearby Salem Texaco — said his station has installed very tight security to keep thieves at bay.
“We’re not really too concerned about it. We have locks on ‘em now and we got security coming through all the time, but the way prices are going it will keep happening,” Foster said.
12 Employees arrested in gas thefts http://www.privateofficer.com
With the price of gasoline rising relentlessly, 12 government employees and one civilian helped themselves to free gas at the taxpayers’ expense, the state charged Wednesday.
All but three of those indicted are from South Jersey. All were indicted on charges they stole gas from the government to fuel their personal cars.
Among those indicted were seven Camden residents, including Patrick Freeman, the 66-year-old head of the city’s recreation bureau, and Charles Rice, an 88-year-old school board employee who worked as a gas attendant at the city’s pumps.
“We charge that these government workers literally took a free ride at the expense of state and local taxpayers,” Attorney General Anne Milgram said in announcing the indictments.
The investigation began with tips from people who observed abuses at the government fueling station, according to Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the Division of Criminal Justice.
Aseltine declined to elaborate on what surveillance techniques led to the specific charges of theft, which ranged from a single occasion at which 12 gallons were allegedly taken, to a series of illicit fill-ups valued at more than $1,000.
While the indictments focused on people in South Jersey, the problem is not limited to this area, Aseltine suggested.
Also indicted Wednesday was a private citizen, Nicole Millner, 32, a Camden resident who was allegedly drawn into the scheme by her cousin, Montrice Wright, an employee of the state Department of Children and Families.
Six of the 12 government workers indicted are employees of the Department of Children and Families, an agency with more than 2,500 vehicles.
Four are employed by the Camden school board, and two by the city of Camden’s recreation bureau.
State Comptroller Matthew Boxer announced that his department will be auditing all vehicle and gasoline usage in the Department of Children and Families.
The Department of Children and Families issues magnetic swipe cards that activate the pump at state fueling stations. Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Kate Bernyk said previous policies there have been tightened.
While fuel cards are supposed to be signed out with a specific state vehicle and remain with that vehicle, the attorney general said, the defendants in this case kept and shared the cards to fuel their personal vehicles.
A spokesman for the Camden school board, Bart Leff, said that the board uses the city’s gasoline pumps at the public works building on Newton Avenue as part of a shared services agreement with the city.
He said that board employees are issued “cards and keys” to gain access to the pumps.
No action has been taken against any of the school employees indicted, Leff said, pending the next meeting of the board of education, now scheduled for next week.
Patrick Keating, the director of public works, directed all questions to city Business Administrator Christine Tucker Jones, who directed all questions to the Rev. Tony Evans, head of the city’s Department of Human Services, who did not respond to calls.
State Department of Children and Families employees indicted Wednesday were:
Tyrone B. Williams, 48, of Willingboro, an administrative analyst charged with stealing more than $750 worth of gas at the Mount Laurel and Edgewater Park state fueling stations between April 2007 and May 2008.
Jesse Rodriguez, 44, of Audubon, a vehicle coordinator charged with stealing 12 gallons from the West Deptford fueling station July 28, 2007.
Sharon Smalls, 37, of Camden, a transportation aide who allegedly not only stole gasoline herself, but brought two other people into the scheme.
Montrice Wright, 29, of Camden, who was “taught” by Smalls how to steal gas, according to the indictment.
Other department workers named in the indictment were Alexis Quezada, 29, of Clifton; and Benny Sherman, 35, of Paterson.
Also indicted were two employees of the city of Camden’s bureau of recreation:
Freeman, the superintendent of the bureau, charged with stealing 37 gallons of gas by fueling either his own or his son’s car at city pumps on four occasions in September and October 2007.
Terrance Mayo, 25, of Lindenwold, charged with fueling a friend’s SUV at city pumps on two occasions, stealing about 10 gallons each time.
Camden school district employees named indicted are:
Rice, the 88-year-old gas attendant, charged with fueling personal vehicles at the city pumps on six occasions between August and October 2007.
William Elliot, 54, of Camden, a roofer who also serves as a gas attendant, charged with stealing a total of 29 gallons over three occasions in September 2007.
Sandra Ingram, a clerk for the school board who was allegedly “recruited” by Smalls to participate in the gasoline theft.
Urshell Pearson, 46, of Philadelphia, a plumber for Camden’s Board of Education.
The charges carry maximum sentences of three to 10 years.
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City employee charged with gas theft http://www.privateofficer.com
Gastonia NC May 31 2008
A Gastonia city employee has been arrested and charged with stealing 2,438 gallons of gasoline from municipal pumps over the past 22 months.
David Michael Walls, 51, of 142 Farmgate Circle in Dallas, is facing six counts of larceny by an employee for allegedly taking $4,966 worth of gasoline from the city on 72 occasions between August 2006 and May 2008.
Walls, an auto mechanic in fleet services, was hired by the city in May 1994. He was suspended from his job Thursday without pay, according to Assistant City Manager Flip Bombardier.
He was allegedly caught on surveillance video stealing gasoline from pumps at the city’s Public Works building at 800 N. Broad St., said Gastonia Police Detective T.D. Wilson.”They (the city) found out he was stealing gas,” Wilson said.
The investigation began after the city conducted an audit of gas fueling stations, police reported.Walls told police that he took the gasoline for his own personal use and was not selling it to others, Wilson said.
Bombardier said he could not comment on an ongoing criminal investigation or discuss private personnel matters concerning Walls. Walls could not be reached for comment Thursday.
“We take allegations of criminal activity by our employees very seriously,” City Manager Jim Palenick said in a press release. “We will investigate them fully and prosecute illegal actions to the fullest extent of the law to protect the city’s and its taxpayers’ interests.”
Walls was released from the Gaston County Jail Thursday on a $25,000 bond. He has a court hearing scheduled for today at the Gaston County Courthouse.
Wilson said the estimated value of the stolen gasoline is based on the price that Gastonia paid for it. Gastonia buys gasoline in bulk at wholesale prices, according to Bombardier.
That price averaged $1.86 per gallon between August and December 2006 versus $2.82 on May 16, when Walls was identified as a suspect, according to arrest warrants. Bombardier said the city paid more than $3 per gallon for its most recent gasoline order.
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