Ex-employee of Arundel is convicted of theft He supplied his business with stolen county goods

November 22, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A former Anne Arundel County worker accused of supplying his backyard auto shop with materials stolen from his employer was convicted yesterday of felony theft.

Gary W. Bussey, 45, a water-line maintenance supervisor, entered an Alford plea, in which he did not admit guilt, but conceded prosecutors had the evidence to convict him. In exchange, related charges were dropped.

The conviction carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Clayton R. Greene set sentencing for Jan. 23.

Bussey, who ran Gary's Auto Body from his home, was charged with ordering $158,118 worth of paint, tape and equipment between July 1992 and March 1995. He manipulated the county's purchasing system to buy truckloads of welding machinery, paint guns, impact wrenches, jacks, drills and other equipment that the county did not need.

The incident prompted Public Works officials to revamp the purchasing procedures.

Truckloads of goods, some still in packages, were removed from his home in the 1700 block of Severn Road in Severn when prosecutors and police raided it in May 1995.

County officials sent electricians to dismantle such large machinery in Bussey's shop as compressors and generators so the items would fit in vans.

Another county employee noted the unusual amount of equipment being purchased and alerted Public Works officials. An internal audit showed discrepancies between goods ordered and received, as well as descriptions of items on purchasing forms that obscured the fact that the county would not have ordinarily ordered the items.

Bussey claimed that the supplies were being stored in county buildings, then admitted having some at his home.

"Now there are regular checks on what is going through," said John A. Morris, a spokesman for the county's Land Use Office, which includes Public Works.

When Bussey was fired in March 1995, he was a 23-year veteran of county government with an annual salary of $55,621.

Pub Date: 11/22/97

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