City employees busted for taking beer from dump

Some expired cases of beer left at the Columbia city dump were too hard to resist for two city workers.

Authorities are not releasing the names of the duo who are in hot water after using a city truck to fetch beer that was going to be destroyed at the city landfill.

Workers at Columbia TMs N.H. Scheppers Distributing Company took 1,500 cases of expired beer to the Columbia city landfill on April Fools Day. It was not a joke when the workers delivered it in two shipments.

The first shipment was destroyed immediately, but the second shipment wasn't, leaving 700 cases of Budweiser and Michelob Ultra awaiting a similar fate.

City administrators said that two solid waste workers decided to load about 50 cases into a city pickup truck. Columbia Human Resource Director Margrace Buckler said the workers stole the beer because the beer became city property once it was inside the landfill.

The bottom line is, we have our rules that we go by," Buckler said. "We try and apply that consistently and fairly. That is what we are doing in this situation, we feel. Does everybody that does something wrong get caught? No, but in this case they did. So, we are trying to apply our rules.

City officials have surveillance video from the landfill showing the two city workers in the act of taking the expired cases of beer. City officials denied our request to get a copy of that video saying there is ongoing investigation.

Columbia police investigators are trying to figure out whether a crime was committed in this incident. If they determine someone broke the law, then investigators said they will take appropriate action.

It TMs my understanding that there is some type of an ordinance, I can TMt quote it for you, but there is some type of an ordinance about removing items from the city dump without permission," Columbia Police Detective Jeff Westbrook said. "That is a violation.

City officials said it TMs not that often that a local beer distributor unloads that much beer into the landfill. Distributors usually dispose of their expired beer by pouring down the drain. One of the accused Columbia solid waste workers has resigned from his job. The other worker faces disciplinary action.

Authorities do not know the whereabouts of the missing expired beer.

City officials said two solid waste workers were involved with removing the beer from the landfill and other city employees could be involved.