A Hingham police officer has been charged with stealing $500 in gas from the town to fill up his own car, the department said Monday.
Officer Thomas Cadigan, 61, a 34-year veteran of the police department, was charged in Wareham District Court on Monday with nine counts of larceny. He has resigned and paid back the town for the gas.
“I think anybody that’s going to commit any crime, whether they be town employees or otherwise, would know if they get caught, they will be charged,” said Police Chief Michael Peraino.
Cadigan, who had already resigned and paid back what he took in January, waived his right to a hearing on March 11 and admitted to sufficient facts. The case was continued without finding for six months and Caidgan was put on probation.
The thefts allegedly occurred at the town’s fuel depot off Fort Hill Street in December and January, and totaled $471.23.
According to Peraino, the police department discovered the thefts after one of their cruisers got in an accident.
Each cruiser has a fuel key, which has a corresponding computer identification number, Peraino said. Soon after the accident, detectives discovered that the fuel key to the disabled cruiser was missing.
“So we checked, and found that the gas key had been used when the cruiser was out of service for a couple weeks. That’s when we noticed something was up. So we started looking at the gas reports weekly, and saw that the gas key was being used once a week,” Peraino said.
Police set up surveillance on the fuel depot and found that Cadigan was using the key to gas up his own vehicle.
According to Peraino, Cadigan was suspended immediately without pay in late January. Though Cadigan was entitled to a hearing within five days of his suspension, Cadigan resigned on Jan. 31.
The officer also paid back in full what he had taken from the town.
Though Cadigan resigned and made full restitution with the town, Peraino said it was important that he be charged.
“For the integrity of this Police Department, whenever anyone commits a crime, we charge them. He’s a police officer, but he committed a crime, so we charged him,” Peraino said.
Hingham Police initially brought up charges in Hingham District Court in February against the officer. However, they found that charging him there would be a conflict of interest.
“It got moved out of Hingham because that’s where do we all our court business,” Peraino said.
Though the case was moved to Plymouth District Court, one of the court employees had a son who is a special police officer in Hingham. The case was subsequently moved to Wareham.
Hingham Selectman Bruce Rabuffo said figuring out where to charge the officer was tricky, but said that the situation was well handled.
“It was a difficult issue, and we were trying to deal with it fairly. I think it has been handled in the best way possible for all parties concerned,” Rabuffo said.
Peraino said that the gassing system would remain the way it is, especially because the crime was discovered so quickly.
“We actually switched over to this new system back in September. It worked perfectly, that’s how we found out. That’s how it was detected so early,” Peraino said.
Peraino said even under the old system, officers monitored fuel usage, and it is unlikely Cadigan stole gas prior to December.
Cadigan is the cousin of former Hingham Officer Paul Cadigan, who was murdered in Florida in 2009.
Contact information for Cadigan was not immediately available.
According to Peraino, Cadigan will be entitled to his pension.