A backhoe went missing from the sewage agency in the town of Cinnaminson in southern New Jersey. When officials began looking into the missing piece of equipment the investigation led to eight men being charged with theft charges for more than just the missing backhoe.
All eight men were charged on Wednesday, Feb. 15, although one of the eight men was not immediately taken into custody on that same day. Seven of the eight men worked on the 15-member staff of the Cinnaminson Sewerage Authority. The workers were charged with theft, conspiracy to commit theft and corruption of public resources. Police stated that official misconduct charges are also being considered.
A city audit was conducted in December which showed that the backhoe was unaccounted for and it was later traced back to the property of a non-employee whose two sons worked at the sewage facility. According to the investigation, the earth-mover had been falsely reported as broken.
When police determined that there may have been more to the incident, they widened the investigation. The investigation determined that some of the employees had worked on privately contracted projects while being paid for authority time and had used authority property to do complete the extra projects.
The men were also accused of ordering $44,000 worth of products that they then used for personal purposes. The products included items such as GPS systems, stereo electronics, tires, grills and other household items. The receipts for the items appeared to be for sewerage-related products such as pumps and other items.
Source: lohud.com, “7 workers charged with theft from NJ sewage agency,” Feb. 15, 2012