Scrap Metal Theft Investigation

Audit Date: April 3, 2014
Audit Categories
  • Investigation
Controller: Alan Butkovitz
Audit Tags
  • School District,
  • Streets

Executive Summary

For Immediate Release
April 3, 2014

Contact: Brian Dries

Butkovitz’ Investigations Uncover Public Employees
Involved in Scrap Metal Theft

City Controller’s findings include School District and City employee

Scrap Metal Theft – Letter to Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. Hite

Scrap Metal Theft – Letter to Streets Department Commissioner Perri

PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released the findings from investigations that uncovered public employees taking scrap metal and other materials from their work place and selling it to scrap recyclers for personal gain.

One of the individuals works in the maintenance department at the Philadelphia School District. The Controller’s investigators uncovered that this employee sold scrap to a particular recycler on almost 30 separate occasions over two years for a total sale value of $1,747. In addition, the employee was driving a District-owned vehicle to haul the scrap metal to the recycler during hours that the employee was recorded as working on the clock for the District.

In a joint effort between the Controller’s Office and the School District, the investigators interviewed the individual in question and the employee admitted to selling the scrap and pocketing the money.

“I would like to thank the Philadelphia School District’s Inspector General’s Office for its cooperation in this investigation,” said Butkovitz. “As a result of our efforts, we were able to determine that not only was the employee taking School District property for the employee’s personal gain, but it was also a theft of time and services.”

Along with the individual from the School District, it was found that a city employee with the Streets Department was taking scrap metal to a particular recycler at least six since December 2013, for a total sale value of $850.

The Streets Department employee was observed taking the scrap metal from a city-owned facility, loading it into a personal trailer, and driving the scrap to the recycler in the employee’s own vehicle. Some of the scrap materials were large enough that the employee had to use a fork lift to transfer the metal onto the employee’s personal trailer.

“This is especially troubling because the employee was clearly violating the City’s Charter,” said Butkovitz. “All city-owned property must be disposed of through the City’s Procurement Department with contracted recyclers.”

Butkovitz continued, “The recycling center where the employee was taking the scrap metal was not listed as a City vendor to accept city-owned property. In addition, no city employee should be using their personal vehicle or trailer to haul city-owned property.”

According to Butkovitz, when the Controller’s Office presented its findings to the Streets Department Commissioner, he was thankful for the comprehensive report and informed the office that the findings would be used to take swift and immediate action.

“It is very important to note that the actions taken by these employees are not representative of the hard work put forth every day by many of our public employees,” said Butkovitz. “But, this type of behavior will not be tolerated in the City of Philadelphia or at the Philadelphia School District.”

The Controller’s investigation will be on going as new leads develop into additional theft of scrap metal by public employees.