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.

Comments (8)
  1. ckmom says:

    Sorry but I dont feel bad for the gas company. They ignore much more than this loss due to leaks that they do not feel are a priority to fix and their trucks are always parked at Stop & Shop for hours while the guys read the paper.

  2. charlie says:

    Well we can come down on him but NOT ALL the policitians that lie cheat and steal very day. You explain to me why the little people get stepped on and all these others get away with what they do. As long as you have money work for your city or town halls and are any kind of politician you can do what you want when you want. Just look at Lawrence Mayor he should be in Jail not just have to pay back what they got in fuel assistance. He lived there he knew the scoop, loser. See my point. Some how some way we need to take a stand and stop all this nonsense, Ever think that maybe just maybe people would not have to steal from these companies. So good for him and sorry he got caught. And shame on the gas company, see if their employess really did their jobs this never would have happened.

  3. zaug says:

    Nice to see the gas company getting hosed!!!! ha ha ha ha

  4. zaug says:

    maybe exxon mobil can use him on their board of directors

  5. DeeGee says:

    And if he had a gas leak, the gas company would charge him every month and fight him tooth and nail for him to get his money back that he was owed. The scammers got scammed and now they are crying foul and trying to make this guy look like the cheat that they are. I hope Mr. Bankert’s lawyers find a loophole and get him off, or he pays them back in quarters from the machines each month. A lot of poor people probably had a few extra bucks compliments of the gas company!!! WTG Bankert’s!!!

  6. eddwal50 says:

    but the meter was fauilty not the laundry owners fauilt it was broken

  7. Marooka says:

    …And so true to robin hood style…
    If it helps the local economy out a little, whats the big deal? I’ve relied on Laundry World for years!! We save Money = We have more money to spend on other taxable goods = Big brother stills gets paid. …Every ones happy!
    Can’t we just write this off as some kind of philanthropy?!?!

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