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DoDEA investigates alleged theft of furniture

$46,000 in property taken from headquarters

Sep. 26, 2013 - 01:29PM   |  
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Department of Defense Education Activity officials are wrapping up an investigation into allegations that $46,000 worth of government furniture was improperly taken when the agency moved to a new headquarters.

Generally, the military services and DoD agencies turn in excess furniture and other items to the Defense Logistics Agency, which then offers it to other DoD organizations, transfers it to other federal agencies or donates it to state and local governments or other qualified organizations, potentially saving the government money. If the furniture isn’t reused, it may be sold to the public through the DoD surplus property sales program.

But when DoDEA moved its headquarters from the Ballston area of Arlington, Va., to nearby Alexandria in August 2012, furniture from all floors of the old headquarters, even from the director’s office, was taken by DoDEA employees, according to an employee who asked to remain anonymous.

DoDEA spokeswoman Elaine Kanellis said all the furniture has since been recovered, would not confirm that those who took the furniture worked for the agency and said no action has been taken against any DoDEA employees.

However, she confirmed that DoDEA received a report “that a U-Haul-type vehicle was parked outside former DoDEA headquarters in Ballston, Va., on a weekend in August 2012, and that individuals were seen loading furniture into the vehicle.”

The anonymous DoD employee said security cameras recorded the removal of the furniture and there were indications someone had tampered with the computers where the footage was held. But Kanellis said the allegations included no charges that any computers had been tampered with.

DoDEA’s chief of staff appointed an investigator to look into whether the removal of the furniture violated DoD’s rules on access to government space or disposal of excess property, Kanellis said. The agency is expected to decide whether to take action soon.

“Everyone knows you can’t remove government property without the authority to do so,” the DoD employee said, adding the incident was especially troubling amid budget cuts and sequestration. “You’re not even supposed to take a pen home.”

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