IT boss who stole 40 council laptops avoids jail

A shamed former IT supervisor has avoided jail after he stole 40 laptops and an iPad from a council.

Wolverhampton civic centre
Wolverhampton civic centre

Tarun Dewat sold the items – valued at £23,548.80 – on eBay because he was struggling financially, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

But the 32-year-old, who worked at Wolverhampton Council for 10 years, was snared by a keen-eyed buyer who reported him to his former employers.

He stole the expensive items over a 12-month-period – between January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019 – and sold the laptops at prices between £330 and £350.

Dewat, of Welney Gardens, Pendeford, first denied his crimes, but later admitted them to council investigators and West Midlands Police.

Judge Martin Jackson sentenced Dewat to 16 months in prison suspended for two years.

He told him: “You were in a position of trust as an IT desk supervisor. As a result of committing this theft you have lost your previous good character.

“These offences were carried out over a period of time, 41 times.”

Dewat stole the laptops by walking out of work with them under his arms.

No one questioned his actions due to his position of authority, the court heard.

He then wiped off all council data and logos from the laptops before selling them to unsuspecting buyers online.

He sold the iPad Air for £250.

But his downfall came after one customer became suspicious of his actions.

Prosecuting, Dean Easthope, said: “The matter came to light when somebody, who had brought a laptop off the defendant, asked to buy a second one.

“The buyer was told to enter an auction and he won it. But when he received the laptop, it was a lower specification than advertised.”

The buyer complained to Dewat and the defendant offered him a £30 refund, which raised suspicions.

He did some digging and discovered Dewat worked for the council and the laptop had a three-year warranty.

Dewat first denied the offence to Wolverhampton Council, but admitted his crimes to council investigators during a second interview.

He was then arrested by police where he came clean. Wolverhampton Council also sacked him.

Defending, Beverley Da Costa, said: “He is very remorseful and sorry for what he has done. He built up friendships and relationships at the council but has lost those as a result of his actions.”

Dewat has paid the full cost of the stolen items back to the council. The court ordered Dewat to pay £360 compensation to the buyer, £425 in prosecution costs and further court costs of £140.

The council has increased security in light of the incident.

Tim Johnson, chief executive of Wolverhampton Council, said: “Mr Dewat was dismissed from City of Wolverhampton Council in January 2019 following a disciplinary investigation.

"We expect the highest professional standards from all council employees and his conduct fell well short of that. The council has successfully recovered the £23,546 from the Proceeds of Crime Act.”

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