Accused Of Stealing Gas
A Far Rockaway state employee has been arrested and charged with stealing gasoline meant to be given to stranded motorists, and using it to fill up his personal car, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced last week.
Brian Lee, 38, a New York State Department of Transportation employee, is accused of driving a state funded Highway Emergency Local Patrol (HELP) truck which is meant to patrol roadways and provide emergency roadside assistance to drivers with disabled vehicles on the side of the road. Each HELP truck is equipped with spare cans of gasoline to assist motorists who run out of gas while driving.
Lee, however, is accused of stealing the gasoline on two separate occasions in July and September of 2010 for his personal use. He then allegedly falsified paperwork to indicate that the gas had been given to disabled motorists, in order to cover his tracks. According to DA Rice, Lee is believed to have stolen approximately 60 gallons of gas.
He was arrested last Wednesday by DA Investigators and was charged with two counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, official misconduct, and petit larceny. He faces up to four years in prison.
“Every taxpayer’s burden weighs heavier when public employees treat government property as their personal piggy bank,” Rice said. “New York State’s HELP trucks can provide a great service to motorists, but only if HELP truck drivers are out providing the assistance they claim to be and not taking the gasoline for their own personal use.”
The arrest was made as the result of a joint investigation between the Nassau County DA’s Office and the New York State Office of the Inspector General, with assistance from DOT.