Suspect in gas theft turns himself in

By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — The 21-year-old resident wanted in connection with theft of gas from behind the Fire Department turned himself in to police Wednesday, Police ChiefJames Wilkiewitz said.

Joshua LaPeer pleaded not guilty to larceny charges at his arraignment in 24th District Court before Judge Richard Page. LaPeer is set for a pretrial hearing at 9 a.m. Dec. 10.

The gas pump, over which some residents and city officials ridiculed the city for leaving unlocked, has remained locked in recent days, city officials said. The gate leading to the pump is padlocked.

Tom Wilson, Department of Public Service/Department of Public Works director, said the city is taking the issue seriously and is continuing to look into the problem and come up with a long-term fix.

Wilson said the department is going to monitor the fuel levels and find an efficient way to correct the issue. He said locking the gate or putting an electronic code on the pump are possibilities.

LaPeer, who lost in a 2011 bid for city council and is in the process of joining the priesthood, allegedly told a friend how to steal fuel from the then-unlocked pump.

Police said when Anthony Scannell, 20, was arrested and charged with larceny, he told investigators that LaPeer told him how to do it.

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com.)