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WPD can‘t link any dirty work to Channel 12 report of loam theft

After conducting an investigation of possible theft of loam (soil composed of a mixture of sand, clay, silt and organic matter) by Department of Public Works (DPW) employee Dan Conley, the Warwick Police Department (WPD) has concluded it lacks critical evidence necessary to the prosecution of the alleged crime.

As Capt. Robert Nelson stated in a recent report, police don’t have a witness, statement, video or verbal testimony identifying the person responsible for the crime, or whether or not a crime existed at all.

In an email sent to the administration, which was forwarded to the Warwick Beacon, Nelson said the matter would remain an open investigation pending further information. Unless the department receives more information and/or evidence of the theft, they will likely close the case within a six-month time frame.

“We are awaiting some soil test result, which may or may not, change the status of this case,” he wrote. “Quite frankly, there is simply not enough conclusive video showing the actual theft. And absent an actual witness who could give testimony to what was seen, there is not enough evidence [or] information to prove the elements of the crime.”

Col. Stephen McCartney agreed.

“I’m not sure that the lab tests are going to get us over the threshold of establishing probable cause that a crime was committed,” McCartney said during a brief phone interview yesterday morning. “Absent further cooperation from the public or better information that we initially received, we are falling short of probable cause, as Capt. Nelson has indicated in his report.”

The alleged theft surfaced in November when WPRI News reporter Walt Buteau contacted the police, stating his cameraman videotaped Conley stealing loam and delivering it to a home located on Cottage Grove Avenue. Nelson noted in his report that WPRI News “was less than cooperative” with police when questioned about videotape evidence but, after some “reluctance,” granted the WPD permission to view video evidence to be aired on the news.

“There is and has been no video evidence showing the transfer of city owned loam to the privately owned dump truck of Dan Conley,” Nelson wrote.

He also wrote that WPRI News personnel refused to give statements or provide any other information. The story aired Nov. 15.

The Warwick Beacon ran a story about the issue in the Nov. 22 edition, as well, reporting WPRI’s findings.

Buteau reported that he and a WPRI cameraman witnessed Conley “on multiple occasions … driving and parking a pair of privately registered trucks on city property near the compost facility on Sandy Lane. The trucks were loaded several times with what appeared to be loam, which Conley then hauled from the facility.”

They then followed Conley to the home on Cottage Grove Avenue, where George (Rob) Maddox resides, “and watched as the truck dumped the dirt in the driveway.” About an hour later, Buteau reported, the empty dump truck was parked in front of property owned by Conley.

Buteau also interviewed Conley, who repeated, “I have no comment,” but then said he was not taking loam, rather, he was taking compost, which is free.

According to Nelson’s report, DPW Acting Director David Picozzi said he doesn’t buy much loam to keep on hand because he doesn’t have the room to store it in large quantities. He also told officers he was not aware of any missing loam, and that some loam is kept in the compost area with other materials so city workers can make repairs to lawns damaged by snow plows and routine work putting in sewers and water lines.

Further, Picozzi stated that the large pile of dirt seen in the WPRI footage was removed from City Park during a field renovation and was being used to “dress up” the ball fields behind McDermott Pool.

Conley, the supervisor of the compost facility and the heavy equipment operator, owns and operates a small landscaping business in addition to his job with DPW. He spoke to detectives through his attorney, who relayed to police that he claims he did not steal the loam. Instead, Conley said he received the loam from Vineyard Road Landscaping in a bartered deal for services. No money or receipt of the transaction exists.

Following the Jan. 14 council meeting, Conley approached a Beacon reporter expressing his innocence. However, he did not want to go on the record.

The police report notes that it is estimated that the most loam that was taken was approximately four yards, with a price estimate of $20 per yard, making the total possible theft to be about $80. Under standards set by Rhode Island General Laws, Nelson wrote, the crime would be classified as a petty misdemeanor.

Based on Conley’s employment with the city, Nelson suggested a “complete and conclusive” internal investigation be conducted by the Personnel Department to determine if Conley violated any policies and procedures regarding the loam situation.

“In addition, I would suggest that at the conclusion of any investigation into the employee’s actions, a comprehensive interview should be conducted with the employee relating to his actions…” Nelson wrote. “The employee, based on his employment with a public entity, should be required to be forthcoming in all aspects of these allegations with no allowances for deception of any kind.”

If there are any changes to the factual information, the case can be re-opened at any time within the statute of limitations.

19 comments on this item

Again trying to ruin the reputation if good people. Next time Walt Beuteu should do his homework instead of listening to the "captain" and his posse of idiots!

channel 12 should report some real news

The walls are closing in on these thieving DPW employees.

The court of public opinion finds him guilty and the public is very aware plenty of DPW workers are in general stealing from the department.

They know as they know many fire fighters and cops fake disability. They are getting away with it but the public knows all about the cover ups and corruption.

So these posts you losers write are transparently lies and moreover sad.

Corruption in the public worker domain is prevalent and public unions are hated more every day.

You are not fooling anyone with your posts and the public knows people are getting away with stuff.

They sure as hell don't believe your posts and the only positive feedback YOUR posts will EVER get are from other DPW workers.

Just because or "captain" why don't you try to contribute something positive to our community instead of all this blah blah blah blah blah. Same old story and that's why you only have a handful of characters that follow you . And by the way have you looked up there police records ? Not good ! I hope that you keep it up ,it's good entertainment ! Yes and I agree with you on one thing , the public does no the truth, of all the accusations you make trying to slander everyone else only you have been on the other side of the law a few times! And none one is trying to fool anyone with these posts it's just an opportunity to put the truth out there. So you can sit behind these posts but you embarrass yourself time and time again with erroneous accusations!

Everybody knows of the corruption and it goes right to the top level. Thats why we get the insider tips from your co-workers. They know we keep their tips, all tips FULLY confidential and that WE FOLLOW UP ON TIPS. The cops are in on the corruption and PROVED they cannot be trusted with any tips or leads.THATS why noone, includeing your co-workers dont bring tips to the cops anymore.We get them!

We know all about your insider meetings where Picozzi tries to intimidate tipsters. We know all about Cote's name on the wall.

So where does that leave us? Public workers vs Taxpayers. You know it, and everybody knows it. Why don't YOU do something positive and stop stealing from the department. The department IS the taxpayer and the theft is not victimless.

You moron your tipster from within the department is in prison facing ten years for three armed robberies! Again you are just proving what I said earlier you and your bafoons are the criminals. Still going to intake center to visit him? Seen the visiting log you where there often. So the only criminals I see are you and a couple of posse! I see you mention me Piccozi ? He is key part of this community and is a great family man with qualities you can only fream of having !Keep posting same old blah blah blah blah blah! Public workers vs taxpayers? Or the captain vs public workers ? Oh now the police are corrupt it gets better and better? keep posting its goo stuff. Next time you go to the prison to get more bogus info tell him we said hi! I am doing something positive showing everyone how you like to lie and manipulate. What a conspiracy we got going here! The public is so lucky super captain came along to rescue the citizens of Warwick!! Up up and away! We had batman Spider-Man superman wonder women might mouse and now super captain . Sadly this is the comic book life that you live . What ashame . Sad but funny stuff!

The Warwick police are not corrupt. Just because there is no evidence doesn't mean there is a conspiracy. Show some evidence of corruption or shut up.

You are the moron, he is not the only tipster.

DPW criminals make the Good DPW workers look bad and the Good ones are fed up.

Expect more investigations.

Maybee you should put this much effort in your articles that you write for the beacon ! Your making your paper look bad by being so devoted to the captain.

Reminds me of the story of the PRIVATLY owned North Prov fire truck the OWNER was using to trim trees. The media swarmed on him cameras in his face blaming him for using city property in a different town. The only problem is the bafoons we call the media didn't ask a simple question before rolling the cameras. It was a 1957 vintage fire truck, owned by the homeowners friend bought from the city many years earlier.. Thats why the media has no credability. If they simple do a little research they would see answers before they look STUPID...

Just Because...or should we say jessica b....where have you gone....it is so easy to say things or print things or take pictures of people when you believe no one knows it is you.......but when the veil is lifted you run for cover ...where behind the captains skirt.......

They screw up the other DPW case by charging the guy under the wrong law, and now this. Do you wonder why the public is fed up and cynical? Call Barney Fife to solve the crime. By the way, where is a legit performance audit regarding the unfunded liability status of the municipal pension funds?

Which "Captain" are you talking about...Nelson, or is "Captain" a catch all term of derision to a whole bunch of folks in authority??

Morgan . . .of course . . .; no, it is actually a self-named, maniacal character called "TheCaptain"on the boards

Well we do know that one person (nayler) was caught taking stuff and videos came out regarding wasted time by city employees, and we know that public agencies can almost ALWAYS stand some oversight and improvement. So the anti-cote side taking the position that the city is perfect and a hapless victim, is just ridiculous. And the claim that this article is somehow pro-cote is also not how I read it, I saw just the opposite. I see the garden variety "concerned citizen" in cote, and push back in these comments by city-side folks here in these comments who bring up personal attacks and make accusations against cote and this newspaper of some kind of collusion, all in an article that basically exonerates the city. so, WHO has a vendetta mindset again? I have in the past even criticized the beacon in these comments sections but this time I see a report that just kind of states facts that the relevant authorities find the loam situation inconclusive.

It would be a different story if he was just a concerned citizen . However the public is not aware if his vendetta . Him and his girlfriend from the beacon are on a mission to get people fired they don't care who but they have embarrassed themselves with arronious allegations time and time . I would have a little sympathy for the two if them but I'm sorry I can't the two if them are nothing but pathological liars. Trust me on that one! In fact his name from here on in is no the captain anymore it's now WALT! He certainly has more dreamed up stories than mr Disney himself

Wow, wow and wow. I just started to read the Beacon here online. What the heck is going on? Attacks are quite the norm nowadays. Infantile. What ever happened to adult conversation?

tax payer...this is a place for people to express their opionions, and even though you did not ask for mine i would like to respond to yours....yes there have been a couple of employees who did not do the right thing. these people have been justly punished. Unfortunately this is not good enough for Mr Cote....if it was up to him they would be tarred feathered and held up for public humiliation......the last i knew this was america and after paying your dues you are awarded a 2nd chance...(the same 2nd chance mr cote was awarded after pleading down from a felony to a misdemeanor for a gas dumping incident..which is public record..along with his other run ins with law enforcment..which is also public record...alot of second chances for him)....so the city does take REAL offensives seriously for your comments on the article itself.....i had no problems with it...my beef was from the comments made by "justbecause"...or should we call her jessica b the writer of the article....in her comments she states the reason for no prosicution of mr conley was because of POLICE CORRUPTION and a coverup at the highest levels of city government.....well maybe jessica there was no evidence because he did nothing wrong...did that ever cross your mind....of course not...that would not fit what mr cote told you.....i am sorry you had to spend all that time riding around with him takeing pictures and videos and nothing came from it.(well at least you got a free meal at the OUTBACK STEAK HOUSE..at least i hope he paid)...and rodger to your last point about mr cote being a garden variety concerned citizen, and it being personal...well it is. you see awhile back mr cote made false alligations against me jeopardizing my job and ultimately my ability to provide for my family......concerned citizen NO WAY....lunitic liar closer to the truth.....but then again he and his gumada care nothing for the truth or who they hurt....

Does the Captin have nothing better to do than to be the self proclaimed savior for the taxpayers of Warwick. We moved to the City of Warwick because of the services they offer, I have friends in other communities and they are not getting nearly as many services as we receive. All I hear is "the captain" bashing the Mayer and the Govenor and the impression that I'm getting is he has an issue with all City Workers. Please correct me if I'm wrong did he not state that now the Police are corrupt. If you really want to be a Savior why don't you work on getting our money back from Curt Shilling. I've been to a couple of your rallies and I do believe counseling might help. You definately have the time for it.

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