After allegedly stealing and selling more than 2,000 linear feet of historic Longfellow Bridge metal trim, hauling it all away in a state-owned truck, police nabbed two Department of Conservation and Recreation employees Thursday.

Police nabbed two Department of Conservation and Recreation employees Thursday for allegedly stealing and selling more than 2,000 linear feet of historic Longfellow Bridge metal trim.


Richard Stewart, 42, of Saugus, and Joseph Falzone, 43, of Nashua, N.H. were charged with 12 counts of receiving stolen goods and 12 counts of conspiracy after allegedly using a DCR dump truck to remove the decorative metal stored at a Stoneham labor yard and selling it in Everett as scrap for $12,000.


Both suspects were suspended without pay from their job, according to DCR Commissioner Richard Sullivan.  


“We allege that these employees abused their access to taxpayer property and equipment to steal this valuable material and sell it for their own personal gain,” said Middlesex County District Attorney Gerald Leone said in a statement. “It is a violation of the public trust made all the more outrageous when you consider that they stole more than $500,000 worth of historic, public property to make $12,000 for themselves.”


Stewart is the DCR Middlesex Fells District Manager and Falzone is a DCR employee, according to a press release. They were both arraigned on Monday in Malden District Court.


The incident was reported on Sept. 4 after a DCR employee noticed a large portion of the stacked coping missing from the yard — approximately two-thirds of the 3,467 feet in total of decorative metal.


The investigation included interviews with DCR employees, video surveillance and analysis of tire tracks. It has been determined that both suspects used their state employee access and drove a DCR truck and Bobcat vehicle into the Stoneham yard on “multiple occasions” over weekend days in July and August.


According to the receipts obtained by state police from the scrap yard in Everett, the weight of the cast iron allegedly sold by Stewart and Falzone was 91,260 pounds. The payout on the receipts totaled $12,147. 


During the beginning of bridge repairs, a total of 357 hefty iron pieces — approximately 7 feet long by 2 feet wide weighing 350 pounds — were removed last year as part of a long-term rebuilding of the bridge and have been stored away until a scheduled replacement in 2012.


DCR officials estimate that the cost to reconstruct or replace the coping would be somewhere between $500,000 and $700,000.  


Cambridge Chronicle