Almanac

News - July 31, 2013

Menlo Park city employee arrested on theft charges

by Renee Batti

A longtime Menlo Park public works employee was arrested July 23 on suspicion of stealing about $1,800 worth of fuel from city gas pumps during the last year and a half.

Juan Alvarez, 51, of Redwood City was booked into San Mateo County Jail on three felony charges, according to a news release from the Menlo Park Police Department. He is charged with embezzlement by an employee, second-degree burglary, and grand theft, police say.

Mr. Alvarez has been a city employee for about 25 years and works in the department's tree maintenance division, according to Ruben Nino, assistant public works director.

The police began an investigation in April after being notified by the public works department of suspicions that someone was stealing fuel from the city gas pumps at the corporation yard.

Mr. Alvarez has been released on bail; the case has been turned over to the District Attorney's Office for review.

Mr. Nino said the city can track an employee's use of fuel pumps through the key associated with the vehicle he or she uses. The key registers data, such as date and time of use, that then is stored in a computer database, he said.

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