Village employee charged in fuel theft

CHATHAM–State Police Investigators at Livingston charged Christopher Sperl, 45, of Chatham, a Chatham Village Department of Public Works employee for 25 years, on several counts in connection with the alleged theft of diesel fuel, January 9.

In July 2011, State Police initiated the investigation which resulted in Mr. Sperl’s arrest on one count of first degree offering a false instrument for filing, a class E felony; one count of second degree falsifying business records, one count of official misconduct and one count of petit larceny, all class A misdemeanors.

Mr. Sperl allegedly used a fuel card associated with the Village’s fuel account at the Main Care fuel company to “systematically” steal diesel fuel from the Village.

Livingston State Police Investigator Eric Barnes would not say if Mr. Sperl was allegedly using the card to put diesel fuel in his own, a town-owned or some other vehicle.

He did say the both police surveillance and business records were used in the investigation, which took place over about five-months, during which Mr. Sperl was working for the village.

Asked whether Mr. Sperl is still employed by the Village, the investigator deferred to village officials.

Mr. Sperl has worked for the village Department of Public Works since 1987, He has been a foreman and attended Village Board and Public Works Advisory Committee meetings.

Mr. Sperl was released with tickets directing him to appear in Chatham Town Court January 18. The investigation is ongoing.

Calls to Mr. Sperl were not returned and Village Mayor Tom Curran said he could not comment on personnel issues.

To contact Diane Valden email .

Emilia Teasdale contributed to this story.

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