City of Bayard making do after arrest of utility workers

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The city of Bayard is making do with what they have after losing three utility workers when they were arrested for allegedly stealing and selling scrap metal from the city and keeping the proceeds for themselves.

Court documents indicate that Bayard Street Superintendent, 44-year-old Kevin Wurm directed two of his employees, 29-year-old Joshua Buskirk and 31-year-old Joshua Kinney, to take and sell the scrap metal and evenly divide the proceeds between the three of them.
Bayard City Clerk-Treasurer Jennifer Kriha told KNEB News Wednesday Buskirk resigned earlier this month but Wurm and Kinney are currently on suspension without pay pending completion of the investigation.

Kriha and her deputy were out reading electric and water meters this week because of the loss of the three men and a former employee, Dan Coolidge, has been coming in late in the afternoon to do utility orders.

Kriha says they have an Interlocal agreement with Chimney Rock Public power District regarding electrical issues. Kriha says a private firm doing a city water project, Van Kirk Brothers from Sutton, Nebraska, has agreed to handle any water problems in the interim.

The city is advertising Buskirk's position through May 2nd and will hopefully have someone to help out soon after.

The court affidavit said that Buskirk brought three loads of scrap metal to Jon's Salvage in Minatare on April 7, April 8, and April 10th during working hours and was paid $937.70 for the contents. The scrap metal consisted of pipes, manhole rings, a large water valve, and various other similar type metal components, and allegedly came from the salvage pile from the city's water project.

Buskirk told law enforcement that this was "a regular practice" and he was advised by Wurm to take it, sell it, and split the proceeds between the three.

All three will make their first court appearance May 21st on charges of theft by unlawful taking, a Class IV felony. All three have been released on bond.

They face up to a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison if convicted.

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