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Police: Downtown Schenectady flower watering truck stolen, quickly recovered

Police: Downtown Schenectady flower watering truck stolen, quickly recovered

It was stolen as the worker was watering flowers, officials say
Police: Downtown Schenectady flower watering truck stolen, quickly recovered
Flower baskets seen in downtown Schenectady in May
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

SCHENECTADY -- A city man swiped a Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation watering truck as the DSIC worker watered flowers last week, authorities said.

City police recovered the truck a short time later, but not before the accused thief turned a corner too fast, causing the truck's water tank to crash into the truck's side, damaging the truck, officials said.

The incident happened early last Thursday morning at Veteran's Park downtown, police said.

The DSIC worker was out just before 2 a.m. June 13 watering plants when two people started talking with him, DSIC Executive Director Jim Salengo said. The improvement corporation tries to water the flowers overnight for easier access, Salengo said.

Soon after, as he stood outside the truck with the hose watering the plants, he heard his truck engine revving and saw his truck speeding off, Salengo said. The hose he was using pulled out of the tank; the worker was uninjured.

Police responded quickly and had two men in custody within five minutes, police said. The truck was pulled over without further incident, officials said.

Christopher M. Johnson, 31, of Steinmetz Homes, faces one count of third-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, felonies.

Johnson is accused of being the one to actually take the vehicle, according to court filings.

Police also arrested a second man, Kirk T. Tofte, 40, of State Street. He allegedly got in after the truck was stolen. He faces one count of second-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

Damage to the truck, a 2009 Ford F350 Super Duty, was estimated at about $2,000, according to the police.

The truck was being repaired this week and backup trucks were used to get the watering done, Salengo said.

Salengo commended the police for their response. "Kudos to the SPD," Salengo said.

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