Former state police mechanic pleads guilty to embezzling more than $24,000 in auto parts

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ONEIDA — A former civilian state police mechanic pleaded guilty in Madison County Court on Thursday to embezzling more than $24,000 in auto parts.

David Relyea, 64, of Canastota, pleaded guilty before Judge Patrick J. O’Sullivan to third-degree corrupting the government, a felony, according to the state Comptroller’s Office.

His case was adjourned for sentencing to Dec. 2. He has been placed on interim felony probation and authorities said he has already paid back $20,000.

Authorities said Relyea was a civilian mechanic for the state police barracks in Oneida and he bought numerous auto parts that did not fit state police vehicles, then altered the invoice descriptions so that they did not match the actual parts purchased.

Investigators said Relyea owned his own auto repair business and used the parts he stole from the state police garage to subsidize his personal business.

The thefts occurred between April 2015 and October 2020.

Authorities said Relyea had worked for the state police for more than 30 years and he retired during the investigation, prior to the criminal charges.

The case remains ongoing against a second civilian mechanic accused in the theft.

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