The charge stems from a car stop conducted on Jeramy Jasperson, who at the time was employed as a mechanic at the Joplin City garage. A patrol officer conducted the stop at the request of a Joplin detective on the evening of June 24, 2013, just after 10 p.m.. The car stop led to recovery of a bottle of refrigerant, along with a case of oil from the vehicle. Jasperson had just left his work shift at the city garage when the car stop was conducted, and the items were recovered.
The result of the investigation led to the formal filing of charges against Jasperson for misdemeanor theft. Jasperson is no longer employed with the city of Joplin. The court case is still pending in Joplin Municipal Court.
The investigation was initiated after a request by the office of the city manager.
Statement from Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr:
My office was recently made aware of potential criminal activity taking place in a division of Public Works. Based on this, I ordered the Police Department to investigate. This has resulted in the filing of a misdemeanor charge against a former City employee.
The city has no tolerance for this type of activity by any of its employees. When something such as this occurs, we take it very seriously. In addition to the charge, certain structural changes need to be made within this division. Accordingly, corrective personnel actions have taken place in this area to insure that we measure up to the highest expectations our citizens expect and deserve. These actions are not taken lightly and were implemented after a thorough review and investigation.
In a separate matter, I learned of other management issues within the Building Division of Public Works. After a thorough investigation, we believe no theft has occurred, although the problems did result in a loss of revenue for the City. Again administrative changes have and will be made to rectify this situation. In handling matters such as these, I want to be as forthcoming as possible, but due to the criminal and personnel nature of these matters, I am unable to provide further details.
Overall, operations of the city remain strong. The administrative team has managed these developments in a manner to create little or no disruption within the city and for our citizens. We continue to work towards our goal of making Joplin bigger and better than it was prior to the natural disaster that struck our city in 2011.