LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A Los Angeles parks employee was behind bars on Tuesday for allegedly stealing hundreds of gallons of gasoline from city depots and selling it on the streets.
KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports the City Controller said the arrests should serve as a wake-up call for all city departments.
A month-long surveillance operation by LAPD detectives found Michael Anthony Lee, a 12-year veteran of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, was transferring gas from fuel cans to 47-year-old LA resident Shane Anthony Gansterer.
The suspects were identified after police set up surveillance on fuel stations at Southeast and 77th Street Area Community Police Stations and a Department of Transportation fueling site back in April.
Lee, 47, was reportedly on duty when the thefts occurred on Monday and is believed to be responsible for stealing more than 800 gallons of gasoline over the course of three months, police said.
He was booked on embezzlement charges and is being held on $50,000 bail. Gansterer was booked for Receiving Stolen Property and is being held on $20,000 bail.
LA City Controller Wendy Greuel said the arrests validate the findings of an audit released in March that found as much as $7 million in city-owned gasoline had been used to fuel up the personal vehicles of city employees.
“I hope that this incident and the arrests will push city leaders and department heads to be minding the store better than they were,” said Greuel.