Pawtucket officer admits to stealing gasoline

Retired Pawtucket police officer Ken Provost pleaded no contest Friday to charges of stealing about 200 gallons of gasoline from city pumps.

Provost said it was a mistake. He was given one year of probation and must pay the city $682.

"It's a roller coaster. So, I'm just glad it's over. Move on," Provost told NBC 10.

The roller-coaster ride began when a fellow city employee reported suspicious behavior at the gas pumps.

Soon, state police were on the case, reviewing surveillance video from the public works yard.

The I-Team pulled records from Pawtucket's city pumps and found strange patterns involving Provost going back at least three years.

City gas logs show he entered the vehicle code for a Ford Expedition as many as three times per day and pumped up to 43 gallons in a single shift.

The SUV's tank holds 28 gallons. To burn enough gas in one shift, he'd have to drive 555 miles, the distance from Providence to Pittsburgh.

"This is the end of the investigation. He's pleaded no lo contendre. There's nothing further to be done from this point," said Kevin Salvaggio, Provost's attorney.

Provost collects about $39,000 a year in pension payments, plus another $48,000 for health care. The city also cut him a check for about $47,000 in unused sick and vacation time.

Provost spent more than 30 years on the force.

"Again, it was a mistake, and it won't happen again," Provost said.

While the criminal case is over, the city's own investigation may not be.

Pawtucket Public Safety Commissioner Tony Pires said the city may hire an independent auditor to go back through those gas records for possible action in civil court.

Any evidence that's uncovered would be turned over to the City Council to consider action on Provost's pension.