Exclusive: Hempstead Town Officer Arrested for Theft

Stephen Centore
Stephen Centore
Stephen Centore in his Town of Hempstead Department of Building shirt. (Courtesy of Facebook)

A Town of Hempstead code enforcement officer with nearly three decades on the job has abruptly resigned after being accused of stealing a laptop computer from his boss’s office earlier this month.

Stephen Centore was arrested and charged with felony grand larceny March 5, four days after he allegedly stole a Panasonic Tough Book computer worth more than $1,000 from the acting Chief of Public Safety’s office in town hall on Washington Street.

“The town does not comment on issues where there’s an ongoing criminal case,” Michael Deery, the town’s chief spokesman, told the Press.

Centore “did not have permission and/or authority to use, posses or remove this item from the office,” according to court documents.

Town officials reported the alleged theft to Hempstead village police, who released the 56-year-old Franklin Square man on a desk appearance ticket, according to the police chief.

Judge Eric Bjorneby released Centore without bail Tuesday. Centore is due back in court May 2.

Centore started working for the town Oct. 7, 1985 and earned $109,000 last year. He resigned from the town building department on March 8.

The case wasn’t the first time Centore found himself on the wrong side of the law. He was also suspended 60 days in 2007 and fined $500 in county court the following year after pleading guilty to illegal use of a single family home, according to a Newsday report at the time.

It’s also not the only criminal case pending against a Hempstead town official. Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla refused calls from fellow Republicans to resign after he pleaded not guilty in September to official misconduct, attempted coercion and petit larceny.

Prosecutors have alleged Bonilla asked the ex-boyfriend of a female subordinate to give him compromising photos of the woman in an attempt to get the 21-year-old victim to drop a sexual harassment complaint against Bonilla, who has said he’s been set up by political rivals.

Centore could not be reached for comment. No attorney was listed for him in court records.