Meters confiscated in city employee water theft probe

By TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK — City officials have completed obtaining evidence from a majority of the primary persons of interest in an ongoing investigation of what they believe is the theft of water by a group of city workers.
Nine water meters were taken over the past week from the homes of Department of Public Services employees, City Manager Steve Duchane said, and new meters have been installed in their place.
Members of the targeted group of more than eight employees are alleged to have altered their home meters to avoid paying for their personal water use; more than a dozen employees comprise the DPS. Official estimates put the dollar amounts of the losses in the tens of thousands.
The losses were discovered earlier this year as officials were in the process of looking at possibly replacing all of the city’s old water meters with new ones.
Search warrants were served in four cases last week, Duchane said, and officials have received cooperation from a majority of others believed to be involved. They are continuing to add to the information they’ve gathered so far, and may act on that information as soon as this week.
Possible criminal charges from the case may result from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office investigation of the case.
Duchane said the city’s investigation is separate from that of county prosecutors for “good reasons,” but that city officials have tried to stay in coordination with that concurrent probe.