State police have charged a former South Carolina Department of Transportation worker after they said he tried to sell state-owned traffic signal equipment in a Columbia gas station.
The State Law Enforcement Division said Joe Butler, 55, of Elgin was charged with two counts of Breach of Trust. An SCDOT spokesman said Butler had been an employee at the agency’s signal operations stop before his termination on Friday.
A SLED warrant states Butler was at a Shell Gas station in southern Columbia in September when he tried to sell a $10,000 traffic signal cabinet for only $7,000 cash. Investigators said Butler did not have authority to sell the item.
Warrants state SLED then recorded audio and video of Butler making a similar deal on Friday. The potential buyer in that case was a cooperating witness with law enforcement, according to the warrant.
SLED said Butler confessed to the first sale when questioned by investigators.
Officials did not say why someone would buy the stainless steel box that holds the controls for traffic lights and signals. A SLED spokesman said he could not answer the question, as it is part of the ongoing investigation.