25-cent thefts puzzle Oregon's prison system
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 8:36 p.m.
SALEM, Ore. — Over the course of nine years, somebody has stolen about $26,000 from the state's prison system — a quarter at a time. That's about 104,000 quarters.
Visitors to the medium-security Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem plunk the quarters into lockers before going through security.
No one can figure out what happened to the coins, and state corrections officials couldn't explain why the thievery went undetected for so long, The Oregonian reported Thursday.
Auditors discovered the theft this spring as they were looking into the multimillion dollar Inmate Welfare Fund made up of vending machine receipts, inmate fines and concession contracts. It's used for such things as bus tickets for departing inmates and prison cable television.
Investigators initially suspected the theft was linked to another embezzlement case involving the fund that a grand jury is examining. But corrections officials say there's a lack of evidence to link the two cases.
Prison Superintendent Rob Persson said the amount of money involved in the locker thefts was relatively small in comparison to the fund that processed about $30 million in those years.
“It was a couple hundred dollars here and there — not a big difference in the overall scheme of things,” he said.
Persson, who took over in August 2011, said there was no formal procedure for handling the coins, but a designated person at the prison was supposed to process the cash.
“There is no record of who was designated,” Persson said. He said there was lax security involving the key to the coin boxes.
The coins were supposed to be removed monthly and turned in at Corrections Department headquarters a few miles away. From October 2002 until February 2011, the money apparently never made it there.
Persson said he's instituted tighter controls on the coins.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Patriots’ back Nevada rancher; Reid labels them ‘domestic terrorists’
- SpaceX supply ship makes Easter cargo delivery to space station
- U.S. devised ‘Cuban Twitter’ for political dissent
- IRS told to revisit grab of refunds to settle old tax debts
- Feds: Safety concerns led to end of Nevada cattle roundup
- Oregon reservoir to be flushed because of urinating teen
- Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead, audit finds
- Health care law enrollee passwords at risk for Heartbleed Internet security flaw, feds warn
- IRS, other agencies award contracts to license plate tracking company