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Manatee deputy quits after he allegedly stole gas

MANATEE — A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy resigned this week after investigators found he allegedly stole gasoline from county pumps, according to officials.

Deputy David Brady, who worked for the sheriff’s office nearly 10 years, resigned Wednesday.

Investigators found nearly 500 gallons of gas unaccounted for when checking fuel records with Manatee County Fuel Services, according to an internal affairs investigation released Thursday.

The investigation was spurred when a sergeant noticed Brady pumping gas at a county site in a personal vehicle, a blue Dodge pickup, March 13.

Brady, who was a canine handler for the sheriff’s office, was issued a 2007 Chevy Tahoe for work.

Authorities pulled fuel statistics from other canine handlers.

In 2008, Brady used 3,192 gallons of gas and traveled 16,867 miles in his issued vehicle, according to the report.

That’s nearly 1,000 more gallons of gas when his records were compared to another canine handler who traveled about 16,326 miles and used about 2,195 gallons of gas.

Investigators also found there were 28 instances where the mileage on Brady’s work vehicle did not correspond to the gasoline pumped between Jan. 15, 2008 and March 13. In those cases, there was nearly 500 gallons of fuel unaccounted for.

The sheriff’s office has forwarded criminal charges of theft to the state attorney’s office against Brady.

“It is really sad to end the career of an exemplary officer and cut somebody loose for one little screw up,” said Charles Britt III, a criminal defense attorney, representing Brady if criminal charges are filed. “I can say that the amount of gas they say he took is grossly overstated. The sheriff’s office loss will be somebody else’s gain. This is hard working deputy who would be a tremendous asset to any department in Florida.”

When Brady was questioned about using county fuel for his personal vehicle, he denied it at first, stating it was a one time incident, according to the report.

He told investigators he had no money for gas and needed to borrow some from county pumps for his personal vehicle. He said he planned to purchase gas for his county vehicle.

Brady’s listed annual salary is $43,020, according to salary listings at the sheriff’s office for 2006.

In subsequent interviews, he said he used county fuel in his vehicle about three or four times, according to the report. He denied using the number of gallons investigators presented during the interview.

Brady told investigators he pumped gas in pool cars during canine training and sometimes allowed other deputies to use his fuel keys if they did not have theirs.

Sheriff Brad Steube said this case will not make investigators pull fuel records on all deputies unless something is reported.

“I would like to think this is one case where a deputy had poor judgment. I’m extremely disappointed in this deputy,” he said.

“We all take an oath and we are held to a higher standard and the fact this deputy breached this standard doesn’t in my opinion throw the rest of us in the same boat with him.”

— Robert Napper, reporter, contributed to this report.