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I-Team: Government Items On ‘Could Not Locate’ List

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Missing Items

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s government property paid for with your tax dollars. When the City of Philadelphia can’t find pieces of property it owns, it ends up on a list titled “could not locate.”

The I-Team obtained thousands of city records revealing lost, stolen or missing property.

For example, the Prisons Department couldn’t locate nine defibrillators valued at $21,753, two refrigerators and 17 computers valued at $33,184. They’ve lost or can’t account for three gas ovens and two scoreboards.

The Water Department couldn’t locate six jackhammers.

In all, the City of Philadelphia, with 41 departments, can’t account for $14 million dollars in property.

Alan Butkovitz, the Controller of Philadelphia, has investigated the issue of missing city property.

“There’s a lack of personal responsibility for it and there’s a lack of the city making people personally accountable for equipment that’s entrusted to them,” Butkovitz said.

But there are some items on the “could not locate list” that are mind-boggling.

Public records show that a police boat valued at the time of purchase at $6,100 can’t be found.

The Recreation Department can’t find two upright pianos.

Hugh Ortman is the Procurement Commissioner for Philadelphia. He says the items could be lost, stolen or simply missing.

City departments are responsible for their own inventories.

Ortman has no authority to take action against the departments regarding missing equipment.

“Things that could not be located are probably stored or probably tossed out for the most part,” Ortman said.

The Police Department believes even though it’s listed in the database as a motor boat, the piece of property is an engine, but it still can not be located.

After we started asking questions, we’re told now the Prisons Department can locate eight of the nine defibrillators we mentioned.

The rest of the equipment remains on the “could not locate” list.

Reported By Jim Osman, CBS Philly


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