Copper wire (Pixabay.com)

Port Coquitlam fires staff in $75,000 copper theft scheme: city

Seven employees have been fired, believed to be involved in highly co-ordinated copper theft scheme

The City of Port Coquitlam says it has fired seven employees involved in a ”highly co-ordinated” copper theft scheme that lasted over a decade and cost taxpayers more than $75,000.

Chief administrative officer John Leeburn says the plan involved the deliberate, covert theft and sale of copper pipes, the majority of which were new pipes destined for installation underground.

He alleges employees pocketed about $75,000 overall from a scrap metal dealer, with individual employees receiving cash amounts ranging from less than $100 to $10,000.

But he adds the amount is a conservative estimate and the Metro Vancouver city originally paid much more for the pipes.

Leeburn says the city has been investigating the scheme involving several employees with the Public Works Department since late February.

He says the investigation is almost done and once it’s fully complete, the information will be turned over to the RCMP.

The workers have been employed with the city ranging from one year to 21 years, he says.

About 500 people work for the city and those who have been there for decades know each other well, says Leeburn, adding he knows some of who have been fired.

There’s shock, there’s anger, there’s compassion, there’s dismay, there’s confusion about how this could happen,” he says.

“How could good people make such terrible decisions and repeatedly make those terrible decisions? I don’t have an answer for that.”

As for how the scheme could go on for 10 years without the city’s knowledge, Leeburn says it was very “tightly held, not talked about.”

The dismissals come after another former Port Coquitlam employee was charged with theft last year. Dean McIntosh, a former facility maintenance co-ordinator, pleaded guilty to stealing about $175,000 from the city over a three-year period.

The city says in a statement that it implemented a number of measures after McIntosh was charged, including a whistle-blower policy in November. The policy aims to create a safe environment for staff to come forward with reports of internal misconduct.

Leeburn stresses that the employees’ actions don’t reflect the character of the vast majority of city workers.

“We have terrific people in this organization who provide terrific service to the community, and I really want to say to the people of Port Coquitlam: Have faith in us.

“Please don’t let the actions of a small number who have made some bad decisions tarnish the great work that’s being done.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Assaults up, collisions down, say Delta police

DPD third quarter stats show fewer traffic accidents than last year, but more ‘persons offences’

Fees ensure patients have access to parking at SMH, FHA says

Fraser Health Authority hasn’t heard yet from city hall about pay parking at Surrey hospital

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say missing 17-year-old girl located

Police say Rachel Friend was last seen at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 19, near the 14900-block of 81A Avenue

Surrey memories: How the ‘IGUISBCSIR’ Facebook page became a hub for anecdotal history

Former Whalley resident Wes Mussato launched the group in 2011, 11 years after he’d moved to Ontario

McCallum promises taxes won’t rise in Surrey: ‘That’s set in stone’

Surrey mayor says free parking, a municipal force and other campaign promises won’t mean a tax hike

VIDEO: Two officers of B.C. Legislature escorted out amid investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing, bloody B.C. murder trial hears

Colin John pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder case

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

ICBC warns shoppers of the high-accident season at mall parking lots

Over 150,000 accidents happened during the holiday season last year

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Jason Aldean, Old Dominion to headline Merritt’s Rockin’ River concerts next summer

Four-day music festival at Coldwater River from Aug. 1 to 4

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Most Read