SCHENECTADY — A city man got into an idling Schenectady police SUV early Sunday and moved it in what he soon told officers was a “joke,” authorities said this week.
However, he soon found himself charged with multiple felonies, though a prosecutor said the specific allegations appeared to merit a less-serious charge.
The incident happened just after 1 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of State Street and the Jay Street walkway, when city police Sgt. Adriel Linyear got out of his police SUV, authorities said.
Soon after, while Linyear was nearby, Luke Palumbo, 24, of Gillespie Street, got in the driver’s seat, police allege.
Palumbo then moved the SUV “back a bit in the parking spot, then moved it back again,” city police spokesman Sgt. Nick Mannix said.
Linyear saw what was happening, returned and arrested Palumbo, Mannix said. Palumbo told police he did it as a joke, Mannix said.
Police charged Palumbo with second-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, felonies, on the grounds that the SUV is valued at more than $50,000.
Police also charged him with fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, felonies, related to a police 12-gauge shotgun that was inside the SUV.
The final charge was a misdemeanor third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Nicolaus Brooks-McDonald, the assistant Schenectady County district attorney handling the case, said this week that based on the allegations, the case appeared to fit the misdemeanor unauthorized use charge rather than the felony larceny counts.
He pointed to the legal definition of larceny, which requires prosecutors to prove a defendant intended to “deprive” the victim of the property. In this case, Palumbo is accused of moving the SUV only slightly, remaining in the same general spot.
Palumbo was arraigned on the charges after his arrest and ordered held in lieu of $15,000 bond. He posted that bond Monday, the day after his arrest, and was released, jail records indicate.