Tuesday, December 31, 2013

D-200 pays maintenance guy to go away

What's wrong in Woodstock?

The Police Department doesn't prosecute a felony committed by a police sergeant and gives him just 30 days off without pay. And don't give me that nonsense that the State's Attorney won't accept a felony charge or that Woodstock PD couldn't find some other acts to prosecute. Or that the City can't fire any employee it wants to get rid of.

Woodstock District 200 lost 90 pounds of copper from two schools and reported the theft to the Woodstock Police Department last July.

Police tracked the stolen copper to Behr Iron and Metal, located out on Washington Street west of Woodstock, but apparently it "couldn't be traced to an individual." Give me a break!

Are Behr Iron's records so sloppy that it doesn't know what employee took in the 90 pounds of copper? Come on, coppers. Everybody in the world knows that thieves steal and peddle copper pipe. Didn't the idiot (oh, sorry, bud; I meant "employee") at Behr consider that the piping might be stolen?

Ninety pounds of copper didn't just show up in a grocery sack. How big a pile would 90 pounds of copper pipe be? Different lengths? Different size pipe? All straight? Some curved? Maybe some looked like it had been cut off quickly with a hacksaw or torch?

Doesn't Behr Iron train its employees to suspect someone who brings in 90 pounds of copper for "scrap"? Don't they maintain a log of scrap bought and whom they paid?

Ninety pounds of scrap copper at $2.50/lb. is only $225. But it's going to cost District 200 (that is, taxpayers) $7,000 to replace which, no doubt, it already has.

District 200 apparently suspected maintenance man Thomas Harrison. So what did it do? It's paying him $9,000 to go away. And not to sue.

Talk about a spineless decision! Kind of like Woodstock PD's giving a suspected felon 30 days off and, initially, not even removing him from his position of authority in which he committed the alleged felony! And the Office of the State's Attorney deciding that a employee disciplinary action was enough punishment.

How hard did Woodstock Police investigate the copper theft? When you examine the Stolen Property and Recovered Property reports of the Woodstock PD every month, you see that they recover hardly any of the stolen property.

Between April 2008 and August 2013, over $2,000,000 worth of property has been reported stolen in Woodstock. How much has been recovered? Less than $290,000. In other words, about 15%.

District 200 Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski told the Northwest Herald that "the 'time and expense of a disciplinary process' made a settlement the more attractive option."

Where will Harrison go to work next? Will his next employer get a good reference from Woodstock District 200 and thus not be forewarned?

There are certain events over which taxpayers, whether of the School District or the City, would be willing to bear the risk of litigation. When you think an employee has stolen from you, you don't pay him off to leave.

Compliments to the Northwest Herald for filing its FOIA Request to extract information from D-200. Shame on D-200 for not reporting to taxpayers what was going on.


Big Daddy said...

Seriously? Gus, here's how these things work. A guy breaks into a home/school/business and rips out all the copper plumbing. He then takes all that copper to a salvage/recycling/scrap yard. The employees KNOW that it's stolen. But do you really think they care? Do you really think that they are going to keep a record of who brings in what? Do you think they are going to refuse 7k in copper when all it's going to cost them is a couple hundred bucks?
Gus, this has been going on for years. From sewer covers to copper pipes to titanium. It all get's stolen and bought by the scrap yards. And absent any evidence such as photos or fingerprints recovered from the crime scene, not much can be done.

I don't know why Woodstock 200 gave this guy 9k to go away. It doesn't make sense to me. If they suspect this guy of stealing the copper but had no way of proving it, were it me, I'd have kept him on and then watched him. He got away with it once, you know he's going to do it again.

As far as this Sgt. you speak of, you have to understand that ALL cases are prosecuted by the States Attorney, NOT the Police Department. The Police Department investigates and presents the results of that investigation to the States Attorney who then decides if they will prosecute. If they decide not to, which happens all the time, then the case is over. If you expect the Police Department to charge with something else just to say they charged him with something,then you are expecting them to set themselves up for a civil law suit. And Gus, YOU are setting yourself up for a lawsuit. You state that "a felony committed by a police sergeant". What felony has he been convicted of Gus? You are saying that someone committed a crime when they have no been convicted of anything. And, you said it twice. How do YOU know he committed a crime? What felony did he commit? If you have evidence, present it to the States Attorney. If not, then I suggest you stop trying to give your assets away.

Gus said...

Big Daddy, this has been in the McHenry County news. The Illinois State Police wanted to charge him with a felony for mis-use of the LEADS system. The Sheriff's Dept. had refused to investigate it, and the State's Attorney wouldn't authorize felony charges. The Woodstock Police Chief said he mis-used the LEADS system, a felony.

Big Daddy said...

Refresh my memory please. How did he misuse the LEADS system?

Gus said...

He ran the name of his girlfriend through the LEADS system.

More than one person has suggested to me that the reason that MCSD would not investigate and why the State's Attorney wouldn't accept felony charges is that so many cops abuse the LEADS system in this fashion.

Big Daddy said...

Probably true.