An arrest over a $1 fossil, and a vanished boat: what's being stolen from the feds
Published Tuesday, December 12, 2017 6:18AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 13, 2017 11:21AM EST
OTTAWA – A fossil worth a loonie, a boat, and a stockpile of electronics are among the things that were reported stolen from the federal government in the last fiscal year.
In some cases, the government has cut their losses, while in others they’ve already recovered the stolen items, or intend to recoup the costs in the year ahead.
One case even includes an arrest on Parks Canada land.
Here's a rundown of what’s being stolen from the Government of Canada, and what’s just up and vanished.
According to the annual Public Accounts report for the 2016-17 fiscal year, the federal government reported a $6.8-million loss in property because of "an offence or other illegal act." As part of the federal government's annual financial reporting, the government details what government property has been lost and stolen, or was discovered lost and stolen in that fiscal year. These latest numbers were released publicly in October, 2017.
Under this category, 44 BlackBerry devices were reported lost or stolen as the result of an offense or illegal act; one vehicle and one boat were reported stolen; and 57 laptops were lifted.
Fossil thief arrested
The $1 fossil since recovered by Parks Canada comes with some backstory.
As the department told CTV News, on July 11, 2016, a hiking guide at the Walcott Quarry area of B.C.’s Yoho National Park reported seeing someone collecting fossils.
It’s illegal under the Canada National Parks Act for anyone to take a fossil or other natural object without permission.
On August 30, 2016, the person was found guilty of "of trafficking in fossils," and fined $4,000.
The Burgess Shale is one of the most significant fossil finds in the world.
Parks Canada manages the two Burgess Shale sites in Yoho and Kootenay national parks.
People caught entering protected areas--such as the Burgess Shale fossil site, and removing natural objects with the intent to sell--"may be faced with a mandatory court appearance and could face charges up to $25,000 depending on the offence."
"Parks Canada takes the protection of the Burgess Shale fossil sites very seriously," the department said in an email.
On the same day, a boat was reported stolen from Parks Canada, and it appears the department doesn’t plan on ever seeing it again, as they reported a related loss of $9,823.
Parks Canada discovered the boat--a 16-foot Stanley Tiller with an Evinrude motor--was gone and "likely stolen" on July 11, 2016 along the Trent-Severn Waterway. The OPP was notified and security has been increased at the site where it vanished, the department told CTV News.
The vehicle--valued at $3,500--belonged to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The 2005 Ford F350 was stolen on Sept. 22, 2016 and its last recorded odometer reading was 124,090 km, according to the department.
The department with the most BlackBerry thefts was Public Works and Government Services, which reported seven cases, at a cost of $1,400; and the largest lift of laptops was at the Canada Food Inspection Agency. Twelve were taken over the course of the year, at a cost of $8,381.
Other notable thefts included:
• 6 RCMP exhibits which the Mounties don't expect to get back;
• 3 unspecified weapons or weapon accessories from National Defence, which they've since repossessed; and
• a $40 clock from Global Affairs.
Other illegal activity included numerous reports of vandalism to government property; $951,711 in damage to Transport Canada land due to illegal dumping of hazardous waste; and 17 cases of damage due to intentionally set fires reported at Correctional Service of Canada facilities.
As well, Ottawa reported 133 incidents of "fraud or willful misrepresentation" that resulted in nearly $74-million of lost revenue; and $209 million in public money lost due to "an offence, illegal act or accident" in 2016-17. Examples of these incidents include: Canada Revenue Agency tax evasion cases; and unauthorized uses of government property or money such as travel cards, taxi vouchers, and theft of petty cash.
The government expects to recoup some of this money.
A missing stool, a flotation device and a defibrillator
In addition to items stolen or illegally damaged, the government reported another $24 million in accidentally lost or damaged items in 2016-17, including more than 400 lost or damaged BlackBerry devices; 1,000 cases of damaged vehicles, 700 of which were from the RCMP. Global Affairs reported three "fire incidents" at diplomatic properties at a cost to the government of $39,287.
Other notable reported losses included:
• 3,982 cases where National Defence lost combat clothing and 2,186 cases where weapons and weapon accessories went missing;
• 2 GPS devices, a defibrillator, and a "long service award" reported lost within Innovation, Science and Economic Development;
• 12 inspector badges lost by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency;
• a $50 "ergonomic stool" lost by Health Canada; and
• a $290 personal flotation device from Transport Canada.
With a report from CTV Calgary
Noun project icons: BlackBerry created by ekin turner; Park warden created by Kris Brauer; Boat created by Creaticca Creative Agency; Truck created by Oliver Kiss; Mountie created by Tamiko Young; Theft created by priyanka; Defibrillator created by lastspark.