Parks Officer Caught Stealing From Battery Park Lost-and-Found, City Says
By Jesse Lent on December 14, 2012 5:56pm
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A former city Parks Enforcement Patrol officer was arrested after investigators caught him stealing money from a wallet that was turned in to Battery Park's lost-and-found in June, officials said Friday.
Erthal Scott, 32, was patrolling the park when an undercover city investigator pretending to be a park-goer turned in the wallet, as part of what the city calls an "integrity test," the Department of Investigation said.
The wallet contained $55 in cash and an identification card with contact information on it, the DOI said.
Scott is accused of discarding the wallet and pocketing the money. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted.
"Lost property, particularly cash, should not become found money for a dishonest city employee, especially one with law enforcement responsibilities," DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said in a statement.
The Parks Department fired Scott in August after learning of the incident, officials said.
As a result of the integrity test, the DOI made several recommendations to the Parks Department on how the agency’s Parks Enforcement Patrol officers should treat lost property. These include training officers on how to handle items that are turned in, disciplining workers who break the rules and informing park visitors about how to claim lost items.
“DOI’s investigation led to a strengthening of the security of lost property within the city’s parks and exposed wrongdoing that was stopped,” Hearn said.