WILKES-BARRE – Luzerne County detectives filed theft charges against LAG Towing owner Leo Glodzik of Duryea on Friday, saying that he was caught taking cash from a vehicle he towed during an undercover sting back in January.
Glodzik didn’t answer any questions as he left an arraignment hearing, without having to post bail for the two theft charges.
“Jurors in Luzerne County are fair and impartial,” said defense attorney Joseph Sklarosky Sr. “I`m sure after they hear about the evidence in this case, they`re going to conclude that these are indeed bogus charges and they’re going to acquit Leo.”
According to the criminal complaint, Glodzik was the focus of an ongoing investigation with the FBI and state police.
Beginning in December 2012, an undercover officer posing the head of a regional drug task force started meeting with Glodzik at LAG Towing on Carey Avenue in Wilkes-Barre.
The court papers say in January 2013, the undercover officer instructed Glodzik to tow a Cadillac that he said was involved in a drug bust.
After the officer told Glodzik to return any cash discovered inside seized vehicles to police for evidence, court documents say Glodzik “indicated with a combination of verbal and hand gestures that anytime a vehicle is towed at the request of (that undercover cop) he could leave any money found inside the vehicle and the two could square up or share the money later.”
The criminal complaint says Glodzik took $2,100 from the ashtray of the Cadillac he towed and later split the cash with the undercover officer who was wearing a wire and recording their conversation.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton said he immediately suspended the city’s contract with LAG Towing, but he would not say what terms of the contract Glodzik violated.
“I am disgusted and disappointed by actions of one of our city contractors,” said Leighton. “No Wilkes-Barre city police officer, city employee or administrative official has been implicated in the alleged actions of Mr. Glodzik.”
Both Leighton and Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce declined to answer questions about dozens of other complaints filed at city hall, including crime victims who say they were forced to pay hundreds of dollars to have their stolen car released from the LAG impound.