Tire thefts delay motor pool purchases
Replacement of several vehicles in the Douglas County motor pool might have to wait until the resolution of an investigation into tire thefts.
Commissioner Barry Penzel said he believed the commission should not take action until they’ve heard from investigators in the case.
“It is incumbent on us to understand the full breadth of what’s happened with both the vehicles and the tires,” Penzel said. “I would hope that at some point we’d get and update.”
Commissioner Nancy McDermid asked if any of the vehicles were a hazard.
“We don’t know when we’re going to get a public works director, and everything gets wrapped up,” she said.
On Thursday, Douglas County commissioners voted to table the item.
Maintenance Operation Supervisor Glen Radtke assured commissioners that the vehicles are safe.
“Some are really high mileage, with probably four or five that are a priority and should be replaced.”
The county budgeted $294,322 to purchase 11 new vehicles. Eight of those vehicles were included in the last budget year, but no vehicles were purchased.
The oldest vehicle includes a 2004 Ford truck being used by the communications department.
Most of the rest range are 2006, 2007 and 2009 models.
Three of the vehicles would go to the Juvenile Probation Office. Chief Scott Schick said that while he agreed with Penzel about the thefts, he didn’t want to endanger his probation officers.
“It is in the public’s and your best interest to get a full accounting of what happened,” resident Jim Slade said.
More than 400 commercial truck tires that don’t fit any county vehicles were purchased during 2016-17. Parallel investigations are being conducted into the thefts by the Nevada Department of Investigation and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.
The first public report on the thefts could come from the Douglas County Grand Jury. While deliberations are secret, the grand jury will have met for a year in February. Once done, grand jurors will issue a report.
In late September, the county reported the thefts were uncovered in March 2017. The county manager issued a list of steps the county was taking to prevent further thefts.
Estimates of the value of the missing tires could be around $500,000 during three years.