BOSTON (CBS) – The newly developed Seaport area is Boston’s hottest neighborhood, bustling with trendy new restaurants and pricy waterfront condos.
Just down the road, a public employee enjoyed that waterfront view for free this summer when he tucked a 40-foot mobile home behind a warehouse, no rent, no parking fee and the I-Team confirmed, no permission.
The warehouse is a Massport storage facility on property leased to the agency by the city of Boston.
We caught a clear view of the RV from our chopper, but it’s impossible to see from the ground, a perfect hiding spot for the bus-sized vehicle.
So who is the freeloader?
The I-Team found a hint to who was enjoying the view when we got a closer look at the RV. Plastered on the back was a cartoon figure of a bulldog wearing a state trooper’s hat.
The I-Team learned it was Sgt. Jay Staples, a 30-year veteran of the State Police, who made more than $228,000 last year working at Logan Airport, just across the harbor.
That’s when we decided to knock on the door of the RV.
Joe Shortsleeve: We have been told you are living here illegally.
Sgt. Staples: Illegally? No, I’m not. I’m not even living here.
But the I-Team documented Sgt. Staples coming and going from that spot over several weeks. We also followed him in his unmarked cruiser as he came and went.
Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy was not happy when he heard of Sgt. Staples’ arrangement.
“I am astounded,” he said. “It goes back to the medieval ages of squatting. It’s not better than what we had on the Greenway a year ago, people just camping out.”
Trooper Staples was doing more than that.
I-Team cameras show an extension cord from his six-figure camper plugged into the power supply of the Massport building. We asked him about that as well.
Joe Shortsleeve: You are also hooked up to this building for electricity?
Trooper Staples: No, nothing is plugged inside here. That was earlier.
Joe Shortsleeve: That was earlier? Well who is paying for the utilities here?
The camp site was no secret to Sgt. Staples’ colleagues.
Over the summer we watched as troopers and other security vehicles patrolled the area, well within view of the RV.
Councilor Murphy says that’s not right.
“Who’s policing the police? If you or I did something like that, we would be hauled away in cuffs within 48 hours,” he said.
In a statement to the I-Team, State Police said the matter is under investigation.
I-Team Update: Trooper Caught Freeloading Has Been In Trouble Before
“If the investigation sustains violations, he will face appropriate disciplinary action,” the statement said.
Within minutes of the I-Team’s call to the State Police, Staples was ordered off the property.
We were there when that huge RV pulled out from behind the warehouse and made a hasty exit from the Seaport area.
At one point, Sgt. Staples had to hop out of the camper to secure a small side door that flew open as he drove down the street.
We followed him all the way to Norwell where he pulled the RV onto the lawn of a small home.
Massport told the I-Team that they will take a close look at the electricity use for that building to determine if the usage was higher than normal.