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Last updated: May 13. 2014 5:57PM - 1709 Views
By - rdupuis@timesleader.com



Glodzik
Glodzik
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WILKES-BARRE — The prosecution says it was a case of stealing. The defense says it was entrapment.
 
While both sides clearly staked out their positions Tuesday during the first day of Leo A. Glodzik's theft trial, a prosecution audiotape was anything but clear, adding to confusion and frustration during a half-day session which started late and ended early.
 
Towing contractor Glodzik, 43, of Wilkes-Barre, faces two theft counts following investigation into allegations that he stole $2,100 from a vehicle he towed which was part of a drug arrest on Jan. 29, 2013.
 
The jury of 10 men and two women heard only from one prosecution witness, state Trooper Daniel Mimnaugh, who testified he was playing the role of a “dirty cop” when Glodzik took the money from a white Cadillac and then offered him $1,100 of it to him wrapped in a paper towel during a meeting at Glodzik's Carey Avenue garage.
 
Mimnaugh testified he then called in FBI agent Joseph Noone. Glodzik was checked for weapons but advised he was not under arrest, Mimnaugh said, and Glodzik agreed to talk.
 
“During that interview, Mr. Glodzik admitted he took $2,100,” Mimnaugh said.
 
“He was well aware it was theft, he admitted. He acknowledged what he did.”
 
Glodzik was not charged until the end of May 2013, more that four months after the incident. Glodzik's defense team, which includes Joseph Sklarosky Sr. and his son, Michael Sklarosky, said the charges were held over Glodzik's head by federal investigators looking for evidence against Wilkes-Barre city officials.
 
“The FBI never wanted Leo,” Michael Sklarosky said. But when he couldn't provide “dirt” on city hall, they arrested Glodzik.
 
Jurors did not have a chance to hear Mimnaugh cross-examined on Monday. The trial was originally slated to run until lunchtime due to previous commitments, but Luzerne County Judge Lesa Gelb ended for the day at 11:30 a.m., after difficulties were encountered with a recording of Mimnaugh talking with Glodzik at the garage.
 
The trial also started late due to at least one juror showing up late.
 
According to Mimnaugh and court documents previously filed in the case, the investigation arose out of complaints over business practices used by his firm, LAG Towing, which had been the city's contractor for seven years prior to being suspended when charges were filed in May 2013.
 
In December 2012, Mimnaugh's father-in-law was in an accident and his car was towed by LAG. Mimnaugh has said he noticed some red flags on the towing receipt regarding what he called “excessive” fees. Mimnaugh, who also works as a member of an FBI drug task force, went to Glodzik's business to discuss the charges.
 
Glodzik spoke of a mix-up, but “the story he was trying to give me still did not make sense,” Mimnaugh said.
 
Knowing Mimnaugh was a trooper, Glodzik gave Mimnaugh four $100 bills for what had been a $350 charge, the trooper said.
 
He said he turned the cash over to the FBI and helped launch an investigation into Glodzik's activities.
 
Mimnaugh also walked away with a LAG business card. According to his testimony, Mimnaugh later “reached out” to Glodzik after their Dec. 20, 2012 meeting to discuss using LAG's towing services for cars picked up by the drug task force. As part of that plan, Mimnaugh said he convinced Glodzik he was a “dirty” cop.
 
Still, Mimnaugh expressed surprise when Glodzik asked direct questions, during a January 2012 conversation about a drug car seizure, on how the force handled money and other evidence seized during arrests.
 
“As an undercover officer, that is an unusual question to be asked,” Mimnaugh said.
 
When a vehicle was towed back to Carey Avenue on Jan. 25, 2013, Glodzik crumpled up a $100 bill, threw it on the table and told Mimnaugh to “take it.”
 
“It's not normal behavior,” Mimnaugh said.
 
Glodzik also suggested that “any time you want to,” Mimnaugh could leave seized drug money in the car for him to find and they would “divvy it up later,” the trooper said.
 
“For someone to be that upfront with me, knowing I'm a police officer, kinda threw me off,” Mimnaugh said. “But that's what he did.”
 

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