Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Water theft nets 5 years' probation
DeCapito also had worked many years for the U.S. Postal Service in Warren.
WARREN Philip DeCapito, 66, of Champion, the former owner of a license bureau in Hubbard, was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to pay restitution of $3,982 for covering up the theft of water from the Trumbull County Sanitary Engineer's Department.
DeCapito, of 1259 Waverly Ave. N.W., was convicted by a jury last month in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court of forgery, obstructing official business and petty theft.
Sanitary Engineer Gary Newbrough said DeCapito was charged after work crews found that a house DeCapito owned on Mahoning Avenue in Champion had a water connection at the road that wasn't metered at the house.
There also was a duplex he owned on Mahoning that had a spigot that bypassed the meter.
Newbrough said he estimated DeCapito received $3,982 worth of free water and sanitary-sewer fees.
DeCapito's attorney, Brendan Keating of Warren, said he believed theft should be viewed in a similar light to welfare-fraud cases he has handled in the past in that those people generally receive probation instead of jail time.
He said both are types of crimes in which the individual has violated the public trust.
"Just because my client has some notoriety in the community, I don't think he should be treated any differently than they are," Keating said, adding that DeCapito worked many years as a U.S. Postal Service worker in Warren.
Jeff Adler, assistant county prosecutor, asked Judge Peter Kontos to sentence DeCapito to 10 days in jail on the single felony and two misdemeanors.
Judge Kontos, noting that DeCapito had no previous convictions, declined to sentence DeCapito to jail time but advised him that he could be sent to prison if he violates the terms of his probation.