I-Team: State police join city's missing gas investigation

Investigators are looking at surveillance cameras at the Department of Public Works yard in Pawtucket after the NBC 10 I-Team reported that someone within the city may have used the city's gas pumps to fill up a personal vehicle.

The NBC 10 I-Team learned Monday that the Rhode Island State Police have been asked to assist with the investigation.

Pawtucket city employees who fill up city vehicles at the Department of Public Works are under video surveillance, 24 hours a day.

Now, that video is a key piece of evidence in an investigation into whether some gassed up their personal cars at taxpayer expense.

"I can't say who we're investigating or who's doing the investigation. I can say it has to do with gasoline that may have been misused by employees of the city," Director of Administration of Public Safety Antonio Pires said.

Pires told the NBC 10 I-Team there are multiple cameras watching the Department of Public Works, including one trained on the gas pumps.

The video is kept for at least 90 days, sometimes longer. Investigators are looking back to see if the images show any red flags.

"There's an awful lot of comings and goings of police cars, fire vehicles, Department of Public Works vehicles, etc.," Pires said.

Pawtucket has 303 city vehicles in all, including everything from police cars to snow plows and a bookmobile.

The I-Team learned investigators are reviewing billing records for each one.

Only city employees who drive city vehicles have access to the gas. The pumps are in a restricted area that requires a key card to enter, with gates that lock after business hours.

Multiple sources told NBC 10 part of the probe is focused inside the police department. A police department spokesman said he can neither confirm nor deny an internal investigation.

However, city leaders promise to hold anyone who stole gas accountable.

"The folks in our city need to know that the administration takes this very seriously," Pires said.