Things are not always as they seem, and if police do not carefully investigate a supposed crime, an innocent person might have to deal with criminal charges. That seems to have been the case with a Nassau County man who recently was found not guilty of stealing chlorine from his workplace. The jury found that the man never took the chlorine away from the sewage treatment plant where he worked, and was just moving it within the facility.
Prosecutors claimed at trial that the defendant put 30 gallons of concentrated chlorine in his car, with the intention of stealing it for use in his pool cleaning business.
But the defense attorney disputed the government’s accusations. He said that the defendant had put the chlorine in his car to move it to the other side of the plant, and that there was no evidence he ever drove off with the chemicals. He said the district attorney’s office acted too eagerly to bring charges, despite little evidence of a crime. “It was a shoddy investigation,” the defense attorney said.
The jury agreed. On May 2, following the end of the trial, jurors acquitted the defendant on counts of petty larceny and official misconduct.
Initially, prosecutors also tried to charge the defendant with drug possession, after amphetamines were found in his locker. But the defense showed that he had a prescription for the drug, so the charge was dropped.
Despite this vindication, the defendant’s life has still been negatively impacted by his arrest. He was fired shortly after being arrested, and plans to try to get his job back now that he has been found not guilty.
Source: Newsday, “Ex-Long Island sewage treatment worker found not guilty in chlorine case,” Robert Brodsky, May 2, 2014