N.C. State Property Reported Stolen, Damaged and Lost in Charlotte

From http://www.wsoctv.com by Linzi Sheldon, February 22, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — According to records from the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, about $220,000 in state property was reported stolen, damaged or lost in Charlotte last year. Also, $1.88 million was reported from state-funded agencies across North Carolina.

UNC Charlotte Controller Kendra Cooks is in charge of tracking thousands of pieces of equipment on UNC Charlotte’s campus.

“We take those resources very, very seriously,” Cooks said. “Every dollar is precious to us.”

Last year, university officials reported more than $47,000 in stolen, damaged and lost property, including stolen computers and stolen and damaged golf carts.

UNC Charlotte officials said they have been enhancing security systems in buildings and restricting who can get inside with their swipe cards and during what hours.

It’s an issue at state-funded agencies throughout North Carolina.

The list of items includes 91 computers and iPads, 16 digital still cameras, nine types of guns and 51 pieces of equipment used to track offenders reported stolen.

PDF: Complete list of lost, damaged or stolen items (The SBI keeps full corresponding incident reports on file.)

In fact, the N.C. Department of Correction had more than $150,000 in stolen, damaged and lost property in 2011.

“Oh, it’s definitely concerning,” Tim Moose, the Community Corrections Director at N.C. Department of Correction. “It’s something that staff and the divisions work hard to try to prevent.”

Moose said for missing guns, they enter the serial numbers into two databases and if an employee is at fault, there’s an internal investigation.

The equipment to track offenders is covered in a $2 million contract with a monitoring service. The problem is so bad they included a clause that replaces up to 15 percent of all the items. The department has never gone beyond that 15 percent.

The SBI’s Assistant Director Erik Hooks said local law enforcement agencies are often assigned to the cases because they are closer and because of budget cuts with the SBI.

“I would dare say that the SBI needs more agents,” Hooks said. “All law enforcement resources have somewhat dwindled throughout the years.”

Some are reported as initially stolen and then recovered. Eyewitness News went through hundreds of reports and found that sometimes an employee, contractor or student is behind the thefts, but much of the time, it’s unknown.

That’s because local law enforcement is not required to report back to the SBI what items are actually recovered, which makes it difficult to track entire investigations at the state level.

N.C. Sen. Malcolm Graham, a Democrat, said agencies need to review how they’re tracking their equipment from start to finish.

“Hopefully we can do a better job on the backside as well in terms of getting information on the recovery,” Graham said. “A lot of work to be done.”

Published in: on February 27, 2012 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  

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