CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia State Police arrested a Division of Natural Resources employee who allegedly tried to sell a state-owned man lift to an undercover trooper.
David Phillip Smith, 56, of Kenna, was charged with embezzlement, a felony, on Thursday.
In May, representatives with the Legislature's Commission on Special Investigations began looking into Smith for suspicious purchases allegedly made on a state Visa purchasing card, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.
Investigators spoke to Zack Brown, a DNR biologist and Smith's supervisor, who said Smith had leased an 80-foot 2000 JLG Man Lift from Carco Automotive in Minnesota.
A man lift is a piece of heavy equipment with an extending arm that can lift a person several stories in the air.
Beginning in November 2011, the state paid out $27,000 to lease the man lift, according to the complaint.
Last week, investigators interviewed Jeff Friedrich of Carco Automotive, who said Smith contacted him that month and asked him about buying it.
Smith allegedly told Friedrich that he could only buy the man lift if it was made to look like he was renting it, or making leasing payments.