- Dori writes...
A homeless crack-addict ran into a 7-11 store in Fremont and grabbed $700 from the cash register and ran off. He was caught several blocks away. Upon his capture, a police spokesman said, "the man simply made a mistake. Once we caught him, he admitted he stole the money and was sorry - so we let him go."
Can you imagine the outrage if the above story was true? If we just let criminals go with no prosecution when they commit crimes?
Welcome to the world of Washington state government!
I got a tip a couple weeks ago from a listener who told me about a state employee who was in charge of issuing credit cards to state workers - but was using her state credit card for personal expenses.
We put reporter Brandi Kruse on the story - and, after a public records request, Brandi was able to confirm what my tipster told me. Neva Peckham repeatedly used her state-issued travel card in and around Olympia from January 2012 to June 2012. Unauthorized purchases included multiple trips to grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants. She also spent $30.00 during a visit to a nail salon and spa in McCleary, Wash.
The total amount of unauthorized purchases was $658.63.
Peckham was warned about personal use of her card in June of last year when it came to the department's attention, but continued to submit personal purchases for reimbursement the following month, according to documents.
So Peckham was fired, right?
Of course not. This is the State of Washington - where pubic employees stealing from the taxpayers results in no punishment at all.
A spokesman for the agency for which Peckham works - DES - said Peckham is a valued employee who simply "made a mistake".
And, by the way, Peckham's job with the state? She was in charge of issuing credit cards to other state employees and managing those credit card contracts.
Anyone else who stole this amount of money would likely be prosecuted. At the very least, they would lose their job. And this, in a nutshell, is an example of the gigantic problem with government. There are two systems of justice: One for government employees... and one for the rest of us.
On Facebook, there is a Neva Peckham who says she works for Washington State. On that FB page, her favorites are listed as "Lucky Slots Slot Machines"... "Lucky Cruise Slots"... " Dice With Buddies"... "Double U Casino"... Winner Super Slots"... "Bingo Bash"... Hollywood Spins"... and "Best Casino"...
If this is the same Neva Peckham, might that explain the credit card "mistake?"
Oh well... it's only taxpayer dollars, right?
While the rest of the media ignores stories like this, my pledge remains that we will remain vigilant to watch out for stories like this - and for your tax dollars. Keep those tips coming in!