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THE INVESTIGATORS: Agencies misplaced bikes, vacuums, other items according to state records

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - According to an inventory of the last five years, agencies across Louisiana reported 9,926 items missing. Those items total more than $26 million in property, most of which the state cannot find.

Among the missing items, include property that was reported misplaced by LSU and the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC). Back in 2018, LWC reported an industrial vacuum cleaner missing. It cost taxpayers more than $1,400. When WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked about it, a spokesman for the agency said the vacuum was purchased years ago. That spokesman released the following statement.

“The industrial vacuum cleaner in question was more than 20 years old and had been in use for that long before it was unable to be located. The typical lifespan of a vacuum is eight years. The vacuum was purchased in 1998 and was reported as unlocatable in 2018. It’s fair to say that vacuum was used to its fullest extent.”

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Among the thousands of items missing from the state, LSU reports the largest amount, totaling more than $8 million in the last five years.

Back in 2018, LSU reported a $2,500 total fitness gym system missing. The university bought it in December 2000 It’s been missing now for about three years. The school also reported a $2,300 upright bike missing in 2018. They used taxpayer money to buy it in 2011 but now it’s gone. When WAFB asked about those two items, a university spokesman said they were likely scrapped. The same spokesman also points out that some older items may have tags on them that are damaged or fall off when their crews search the inventory. The spokesman released the following statement about those items.

“We believe the assets were surplused/scrapped as non-tagged items prior to 2017. Each was manually inventoried in 2017, most likely in error (first year in new process/system). Especially with older assets, the tags may become damaged, illegible, or come off, and at the time of disposal they are not able to be identified for removal from inventory.”

LSU also reported an industrial power mixer missing. It set you the taxpayer back $1,700 when they bought it in 2015 but now the school can’t find it. A spokesman tells us they likely still have it but that it was moved to an unknown location on campus. The search for the mixer is ongoing.

A spokesman for the university released the following statement about the mixer.

“We believe this asset is still on hand but has been moved to an unknown location on campus. Since this is a commercial-grade immersion blender, it is possible the tag may have been damaged or come off as well. It was manually inventoried in 2017. We are continuing to search for it.”

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