The City of Killeen recently released a report documenting Police Department’s investigation into the alleged theft of fleet property by fleet employees.
The report detailed, and sustained, allegations of theft and misconduct for three fleet employees and the finance director. In December 2012, following the investigation, Killeen’s fleet director retired, a technician resigned, and another technician was fired.
The investigator followed up on accusations of 2,730 gallons of missing fuel, 48 missing tires, missing parts, stolen metal, and a stolen vehicle engine.
According to the report, Kim Randall, fleet services director, gave fleet employee David Riddle permission to take a City-owned engine home for personal use, allowing theft to occur. The value of the engine was $600. The report stated Riddle admitted to taking the engine as well as nuts, bolts, oil, and metal from a hydraulic cylinder during his time at the City. Technician John Acker also admitted to assisting Riddle in the theft by helping Riddle cut up the cylinder rack and loading it on Riddle’s personal trailer, according to the report. He also admitted to taking City property, including diesel fuel, without permission and performing personal work on vehicles during on-duty time.
The investigator also wrote that Randall and Finance Director Barbara Gonzalez lied about their knowledge and activities during the investigation and that both were aware of lack of inventories and accountability at the fleet.
In December 2012, the City announced that it had fired Acker, Randall had retired, and Riddle had resigned. The City also fired Gonzalez in connection with the investigation.
Regarding missing fuel, “Acker indicated that the fuel theft was widely known, but no one was doing anything about it. The log book utilized to track fuel was not used properly.”
In Randall’s interview about missing parts and inventory, she said “due to lack of personnel, her office has not been able to perform inventories properly…She had some plans to fix this in the future such as a sign-out sheet for tools and a toolbox, but no inventory had been done.” Randall also stated that she did not have the staff or time for the low-ticket items, the report stated.
“She added that they do the best they can at the (maintenance facility) based on their manpower and equipment,” the investigator wrote.
The investigator interviewed all Fleet Services employees and found that other than personal use of City facilities during off-duty time, most employees did not violate City policies “with the exception of a few minor thefts.”
Police Chief Dennis Baldwin provided a one-week amnesty period to return missing items. According to the report, the list of items returned was two pages in length and contained a large number of items.
According to the Killeen Daily Herald, both Acker and Gonzalez are suing the City for wrongful termination.
By Thi Dao