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Long Beach city workers accused of stealing street signs

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Police in Long Beach have arrested two city employees after they said the men sold street and road signs to a local scrap yard to make a quick buck, authorities said Jan. 15.

Thomas O’Brien, 26, and Ivan Maxwell, 28, were each charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

Police said the two men – both assigned to the city’s sign shop – are accused of stealing 323 pounds of aluminum signs. The men would then allegedly sell the signs to a local scrap metal yard and in total, they made off with $171, police said.

Police were tipped off to the alleged theft, which sparked what authorities have classified as an ongoing investigation into missing city property.

City Manager Jack Schnirman said police are expected to make additional arrests in the case.

“These two employees abused the taxpayers’ trust by stealing city property,” he said in a statement. “This type of behavior will never be tolerated, and the two employees have been fired.”

Gordon Tepper, a city spokesman, said O’Brien and Maxwell were both hourly part-time city laborers.

O’Brien started working for the city in 2006 and Maxwell was hired in 2003.

Neither could be reached for comment Wednesday. They are both due to appear at Long Beach City Court on Jan. 31 for arraignment.