PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon State Police is investigating three Oregon Department of Transportation employees on theft allegations, the department announced Wednesday.
Three employees from the Lawnfield Maintenance Station in Clackamas are being investigated, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Two of them, John Tipton and Autumn Arndt, have submitted letters of resignation. A third, Frank Smead, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.
Agency spokesman Tom Fuller said he couldn’t go into specific details about the allegations, but characterized them as “very serious,” and said the gravity of the accusations referred to the amount the three allegedly stole.
He said investigators believe the three acted together.
In a news release, ODOT Director Kris Strickler said the agency condemned the behavior.
“The public has placed in us a trust to spend state transportation dollars with integrity,” Strickler said. “If proven true, these three employees violated that trust. We as an organization own this and we are making changes right now to put better monitoring tools in place.”
ODOT said the investigation will likely take several months to complete. The agency may also pursue civil cases against them, the agency said.
All three worked at the Lawnfield ODOT Maintenance Station in Clackamas, which has about 60 employees that maintain plants and trees on ODOT property.