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Man gets probation in gas theft

Former paramedic Daniel Spivey didn't think it was funny when he was arrested on charges of stealing laughing gas. He said the charges weren't true.

Nevertheless, the 29-year-old former St. Petersburg Beach paramedic pleaded no contest Wednesday to charges of official misconduct and petty theft after he was arrested on charges of stealing nitrous oxide. The colorless gas, commonly called laughing gas, produces a feeling of euphoria when inhaled.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge R. Grable Stoutamire sentenced Spivey to one year of probation. He withheld adjudication, meaning Spivey was not formally convicted of a crime.

"This is no laughing matter," said Pinellas prosecutor Kevin Hayslett. "He stole the laughing gas while on duty."

Spivey, who was arrested March 21, 1991, has since resigned.

In letter to Chief Assistant State Attorney Bernard McCabe, St. Petersburg Beach Fire Chief Charles T. Hartman said the police investigation was inconclusive.

"During the period that Dan worked for this department, I found him to be a good worker, a competent paramedic, always having the interest of his patients at heart," the chief wrote.