LAWRENCE (CBS) – A Lawrence laundromat owner offering free dryer service has been accused of stealing $55,000 worth of natural gas.
Steven Robert Bankert, who owns Laundry World in Lawrence, was charged with larceny and willful and malicious property damage and released on $20,000 bail.
The 54-year-old Bankert allegedly stole $5,000 worth of gas a month for 11 months to cover the costs for his free, gas-powered dryers. Police say he adjusted the gas meters at the laundromat to show low amounts of gas usage.
Bankert owns laundromats in Attleboro, North Attleboro, Brockton and Springfield, and the gas levels at those locations also showed significant decreases in usage from the previous year.
Police in Attleboro, North Attleboro, and Brockton assisted Lawrence police and Columbia gas officials in the investigation.
Bankert is set to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court on Tuesday.