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Cops: Ex-NY town official stole 8K gals. of fuel

State police have charged a former highway superintendent for an upstate New York town with stealing thousands of gallons in municipal diesel fuel and using it for his own vehicles. WAMC’s Dave Lucas has details.

Investigators say they believe 54-year-old Harry Beninati may have stolen more than 8,000 gallons of fuel from the rural Schoharie  County town of Wright before he left office in January.

Police say Beninati directed town highway department employee's to stop filling out fuel logs in order to conceal the thefts. Beninati has been charged with falsifying business records, official misconduct and petit larceny.

He was issued an appearance ticket. Beninati has refused to comment on the charges.

© 2012 Associated Press

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.