Man allegedly steals $60,000 in diesel fuel

September 25, 2013
Trevor M. Kniha - Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

WAYNESBURG – A former Greene County man was arraigned Wednesday before Greene County Magisterial District Judge Lou Dayich on charges he stole nearly $60,000 in gasoline over a five-month period this year.

Trevor M. Kniha, 25, of 97 Michael Ave., Washington, was employed with Smith Transport Inc., of Roaring Springs, from July 11, 2012, through Feb. 1, 2013, when he allegedly used a company gas card to make unauthorized purchases.

Kniha is charged with 271 counts each of using an access device issued to another who did not authorize its use, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, receiving stolen property, tampering or fabricating physical evidence, and one count of endangering the welfare of children.

According to Waynesburg Borough Police Chief Rob Toth, Kniha is seen in a surveillance video lighting a cigarette while pumping fuel with a child standing by him.

According to a criminal complaint, Francis P. Capitos Jr., director of operations for the company, told police Kniha’s employment was terminated by the company for not showing up for work.

Smith Transport Inc. assigns fuel cards to each of their trucks with a pin number specific to that vehicle. Capitos and Michael Solansky, account manager with Jacobs Petroleum, contacted Toth May 15 to report the misuse of the card at Pacific Pride Service Station, 829 E. High St. This station is owned by Jacobs Petroleum.

Solansky provided Toth with video evidence of transactions alleged to involve Kniha at Pacific Pride. According to Toth, the video footage showed a white male swiping a card and filling up various vehicles and tanks in the back of the vehicles.

On May 21, Toth interviewed Kniha who allegedly confessed to using the Comdata card, owned by Smith Transport Inc. from February through May to sell on-road diesel fuel.

Off-road diesel fuel is used for vehicles like farm tractors.

According to Toth, Kniha said he would sell the fuel for $1.50 to $2 per gallon to fill up various vehicles, usually pickup trucks and the tanks in the back of trucks.

Toth said Kniha claimed to have made between $3,000 and $5,000 on the sales that he used to pay bills when he wasn’t working. Kniha turned over the Comdata card to Toth and allegedly said he had cut up and thrown away other Pacific Pride cards.

Toth contacted Salansky to ask him to look at the records from February through May for unauthorized purchases of fuel.

Solansky found $3,557.35 for the month of February, $13,602.79 for the month of March, $19,218.53 for the month of April, and $23,484.51 for May, for a grand total of $59,863.18 in unauthorized fuel purchases that have been attributed to Kniha.

Kniha is free on $10,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 2 before Dayich.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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