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Hempstead code enforcer pleads guilty in theft

A former Hempstead Town code enforcement officer has pleaded guilty after being accused of stealing a laptop computer from his supervisor's office.

Stephen Centore, 56, of Franklin Square, entered the plea on Friday in Nassau County First District Court to attempted petty larceny. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge, 50 hours of community service and $3,298.36 in restitution, district attorney spokesman Chris Munzing said.

Centore was arrested on March 5, four days after he took a Panasonic Toughbook computer worth more than $1,000 from the office of the building department's chief of public assembly in Town Hall in Hempstead Village, law enforcement officials said.

Centore was seen on security video footage entering the unlocked office, exiting the building holding the laptop, and re-entering the building without the computer, they said.

Centore pleaded not guilty to a charge of felony grand larceny at his arraignment in March and had faced up to 4 years in prison, before he changed his plea.

Central Islip-based attorney James D'Angelo, who represented Centore, said his client "is glad he put this matter behind him."

Centore, who started working for the town in 1985, received a salary of $109,000. As part of his job, Centore inspected nonprofit entities and Section 8 housing. He resigned from the town building department on March 8, town officials said. Town spokesman Michael Deery did not respond to requests for comment.

Centore had been suspended for 60 days in 2007 and fined the following year after pleading guilty to illegally maintaining a single-family home in Franklin Square as a two-family rental.

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