County public works employees accused of stealing from nuisance home

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - Government workers, assigned to help beautify St. Louis County neighborhoods, stole from one instead.

Nineteen year-old Aaron Horton and 20-year-old Anthony Powell-Bey worked for the St. Louis County Public Works Department. Their job was to mow overgrown lawns of vacant homes that were deemed public nuisances.

“They’re vacant because the homeowners or whoever just left, and nobody cares for them after they’re gone,” said neighbor Janet Pearson. “It took a while for them to cut that grass.”

When they mowed a lawn on Midlothian Road in Glasgow Village, police said Horton and Powell-Bey spotted something tempting and returned an hour later to retrieve it, this time, with one of their mothers and her boyfriend.

A witness saw them enter a backyard shed next door to a vacant home. He watched as they hauled the homeowner’s motorcycle and lawn mower onto a pickup truck, and then drove off. The witness wrote down the license plate, which police traced back to Powell’s mother. The stolen items were then located at her home.

Upset neighbors want these vacant properties cleared more often and not at the expense of any more lawn mowers or motorcycles.

“I keep calling and calling, and all they keep doing is leaving signs on the windows over there. I asked them to stop leaving signs and have somebody come cut it, and it’s not cut,” said neighbor Doris Byrd. “They need to do a whole lot more, because we’re paying tax dollars for this. It’s sad.”

Horton and Powell-Bey confessed to the theft, police said. They’ve been charged with stealing over $500. According to the county’s personnel department, they have since been fired.