N.J. man admits to diesel fuel theft scheme, torching mini-bus in coverup | NJ.com
MAYS LANDING — A Stafford Township man has pleaded guilty to an elaborate diesel fuel theft scheme throughout the state, as well as causing a vehicle to explode while in a police impound lot.
Robert Bailey, 49, of Stafford Township, admitted last week in Atlantic County Superior Court to charges of aggravated arson and theft, according to a statement from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Authorities say that in 2015 Bailey used a modified mini-bus to siphon fuel from underground storage tanks at gas stations in Atlantic, Camden, Morris and Ocean counties. The modified vehicle had a generator and storage tanks, which Bailey used to pump and store the fuel before fleeing, the statement said.
In December 2014, authorities in Berlin Township said a Valero gas station reported more than 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel stolen from an underground tank, authorities said.
One of the vehicles allegedly used in the fuel thefts was seized and impounded by the Egg Harbor Township Police Department on Jan. 7, 2015 at the department’s tow lot.
A week later, Bailey “entered the lot and torched the vehicle, causing a fire and explosion that destroyed the mini-bus and damaged other vehicles on the lot,” officials said.
Bailey was ultimately arrested in March 2015 at his Stafford home.
Under the plea deal, Bailey will be sentenced to seven years in state prison. He will be required to serve a minimum of three years before being eligible for parole, according to officials.
Bailey is scheduled to be sentenced on July 14.
Spencer Kent may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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