Missing computers from state colleges

Now a story you’ll see on just one station: Should some Massachusetts colleges get a failing grade when it comes to keeping tabs on equipment YOU paid for? Hank found hundreds of thousands of dollars of missing stuff swiped from offices, conference rooms and classrooms. And now one state official is calling for change! Hank Investigates.

Computers disappearing from Massachusetts state colleges! Dells and HP's and iMacs – all purchased with your taxpayer dollars – vanished!

Hank:

So the taxpayers paid for it once–and now they have to pay for it again?

Suzanne Bump, State Auditor

Yes, that's right!

These state records reveal UMass Boston's lost more than $16,000 worth of computer equipment in the last 3 years. UMass Medical School's out more than $17,000. At UMass Dartmouth more than $41,000 worth of computer equipment's gone missing. At UMass Lowell more than $48,000. At Holyoke Community College more than $58,000!

Hank:

What do you think when you see these numbers?

Auditor Suzanne Bump:

I think we have a problem.

How big a problem? We found over the past three years, taxpayers paid more than a quarter million dollars for computers-at 21 state colleges… that are now gone!

Even the students realize – that kind of math gets a failing grade.

Student:

"That's really a burden on the system."

Student

"They should definitely pay more attention to that."

Where do the computers go? Who knows! Most of them are never recovered. We have learned Salem State found some of its missing equipment in pawn shops–and on Ebay! Obviously somebody's getting money for the stuff.

Suzanne Bump, State Auditor

"It means schools are not doing their jobs as well as they should be."

We asked for on camera interviews about the vanishing state property–but every school official we called said no way. They told us: out of all the computers on campus, only a small percent were swiped.

Don't buy that excuse? Neither do state officials.

Suzanne Bump, State Auditor

"That kind of attitude, that kind of philosophy, is what breeds criminal behavior and the waste of government resources."

Experts say there are ways to find stolen computers–all you have to do is download tracking software. It's really inexpensive-and sometimes free!

Now, the auditor says she's thinking about requiring schools to install trackers on their valuable computer equipment-in order to keep more computers-and your taxpayer dollars–from disappearing.

(Copyright (c) 2012 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)