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LONG BEACHCops: 2 city workers stole

signs, sold them for scrap

Long Beach police have arrested two city laborers and charged them with stealing more than 300 pounds of aluminum signs that they sold to a scrap yard, city officials said yesterday.

Thomas O'Brien, 26, and Ivan Maxwell, 28, were both charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, officials said.

Both men were arrested this week and given desk appearance tickets directing them to appear in Long Beach City Court on Jan. 31, city Police Commissioner Michael Tangney said.

O'Brien and Maxwell were assigned to the city's sign shop, and are accused of selling 323 pounds of aluminum signs owned by the city to a local scrap metal yard during the past six months, officials said.

The men were paid the scrap value of $171 in total for the signs, Tangney said, but the actual value to the city could not be determined because the signs had already been melted down and it was not possible to show they were usable.

"These two employees abused the taxpayers' trust by stealing city property," city manager Jack Schnirman said in a statement. "This type of behavior will never be tolerated, and the two employees have been fired."

O'Brien and Maxwell were both part-time, $10-per-hour workers, officials said. Maxwell was hired in 2003 and O'Brien in 2006, officials said.

Neither could immediately be reached for comment.

ATLANTIC BEACHTugboat sinks at sea,

4 aboard are rescued

A tugboat sank about 3 miles off the coast of Atlantic Beach yesterday afternoon, authorities said, and four people were taken to a hospital after being rescued as the boat capsized.

U.S. Coast Guard public affairs specialist Alissa Flockerzi said the Coast Guard was notified at about 3 p.m. that the tugboat, the 38-foot Sea Lion, in the Atlantic Ocean was taking on water. Two boats that were in the area rescued the four people who were aboard the tug, and it sank at 4:11 p.m., Flockerzi said.

One of the four aboard the Sea Lion had serious injuries, she said. Nassau police said one victim complained of chest pain. All four were medically evacuated by the Coast Guard, Flockerzi said.

On Monday night, a tug towing a barge from the Robert Moses Causeway bridge sank and the barge washed up at a Nassau beach. No one was injured when the barge, towing sandblasting equipment, washed up at Silver Point County Park in Atlantic Beach, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Jeff Janaro said.

The tug was separated from the barge when a 10-foot swell broke the tow line.

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