The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 18, 2013

4 charged with selling government property

David Hurst

COMMODORE — A pair of Indiana County township supervisors and two township employees are charged with selling the municipality’s old dump truck and bridge parts for scrap and then pocketing the profit.

Green Township Supervisors James Crawford, 73, and Allen Shirley, 61, are accused of striking an agreement last year with two of their employees – one a Northern Cambria man – to steal township-owned metal parts, scrap them and then split $14,189 in proceeds, state police in Indiana said.

The supervisors apparently were confronted during a

March 12 executive session held during the board’s monthly meeting, prompting Crawford to admit he made “a mistake,” Trooper Allison Goswick wrote in the criminal complaint.

Crawford, a longtime board member, allegedly tried to cover up the theft, returning some of the money and showing receipts for items he claimed to have purchased for the township, state police said.

A secretary’s review found that some of those items had been purchased with general fund dollars, Goswick said.

The secretary said Crawford asked her to “just keep this quiet” once the transactions were discovered, according to the complaint.

Police said a 1985 dump truck, a belt loader and other scrap items were sold improperly to a scrap company last year.

Those involved entered into a written agreement to divide the cash received for the goods, police alleged.

Crawford and Shirley, both of Commodore, and township em­ployees Dale Laney, 60, of North­­ern Cambria, and Gary Putt, 60, of Commodore, face felony charges of theft by unlawful taking and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.

Police said they have not yet accounted for $7,045 in funds.

Online court records did not list attorneys for the men. All four are scheduled for preliminary hearings May 20 in district court in Homer City.

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