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Phila. Controller: 2 Public Employees Caught Selling Off City’s Scrap Metal

(School district inspector general John Downs, left, and city controller Alan Butkovitz, center, with some metal objects recovered in the investigation.  Photo by Pat Loeb)

(School district inspector general John Downs, left, and city controller Alan Butkovitz, center, with some metal objects recovered in the investigation. Photo by Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s city controller says two public employees have been caught in the act of taking scrap metal from public property and reselling it for personal gain.

Controller Alan Butkovitz declined to identify the employees — he says it’s a personnel matter at this point — but he says one was a Streets Department employee and the other a school district locksmith.

Spread before Butkovitz (at lectern) at a news conference today were doorknobs and related hardware recovered from a scrap dealer the locksmith allegedly did business with.

“This employee was storing scrap metal that was left from various jobs and taking it to the recycler and pocketing the money,” Butkovitz said, adding that the employee netted about $1,700 over two years.

And Butkovitz says the streets employee — caught on videotape raiding the Whitaker Avenue highway yard — was even bolder.

“The majority of items observed visually were large metal objects such as guard rails and storage containers. The items were large enough that the employee had to use a forklift to transfer the metal through the city-owned facility and into his personal trailer.”

He got 850 dollars.

Butkovitz says he doesn’t know if the matter is serious enough for criminal prosecution but their employers have promised swift action.

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